Santa Barbara OKs Medicinal Marijuana Dispensary on De La Vina Street – Noozhawk

Some residents and business objected to the proposal, citing crime and parking concerns

Despite objections from some neighbors, the Santa Barbara Planning Commission voted 6-1 Thursday to approve a new medicinal marijuana dispensary at 2609 De La Vina St. (Joshua Molina / Noozhawk photo)

The Santa Barbara Planning Commission voted 6-1 Thursday to approve a new medicinal marijuana dispensary.

The operation will open at 2609 De La Vina St., across the street from the Santa Barbara Chicken Ranch and next to Yellow Belly restaurant.

The city’s staff hearing officer approved the dispensary in June, but it was appealed to the Planning Commission by Peter Candy, an attorney representing about 27 people who oppose the dispensary.

“The site lacks adequate parking and it lacks direct access from the parking lot,” Candy said. “It changes the fundamental character of the neighborhood.”

Jay Higgins, citing impact on the neighborhood, was the only commissioner to oppose the project.

“The presence of Kevlar around parts of the inside of the building seems strikingly dangerous to me,” Higgins said.

The dispensary plans 24-hour security and re-enforced walls to guard against potential crime at the all-cash business.

The appellants raised multiple concerns: The back parking lot only has four spaces, which would force people to park in the surrounding residential neighborhood; customers must walk around a corner, past three other businesses, to enter the store; as well as general fears about loitering, illicit drug use and “unsavory people” frequenting the establishment.

A majority of the commission, however, sided with the applicant, Ihab Ghannman.

It was his second attempt to get approval for the dispensary. He modified his project several times, and agreed to increased security, including guards, cameras and steel bars on the windows.

The city allows up to three dispensaries, and this site is the

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