Oct. 2018 Planning Commission Recap: Rochambeau Cannabis Dispensary Doubling San Pablo Ave. Storefront

Published On October 30, 2018 | By Christopher Bennett | News & Commentary, Planning & Development

The Planning Commission’s October 25th meeting was brief, but we got several updates on local projects we’ve been following. The lone Public Hearing was an application by the Rochambeau Cannabis Dispensary to expand their San Pablo Avenue storefront space.

Prior to the meeting, newly appointed City Manger Christine Daniel introduced herself to the committee and thanked them for their continuous service to the City. Daniel, an attorney by trade who specialized in land-use law, joins Emeryville after serving several years as Oakland’s Assistant City Manager. She also completed stints in other East Bay cities including Fremont and Berkeley. “Thank you for your commitment to Emeryville. This body does such profoundly important work for this community,” she noted in her introduction.

Director’s Report:

  • At their October 2nd meeting, City Council approved a cabaret license to Trader Vic’s for the 2019 calendar year.
  • City Council also voted to review the Planning Commission’s approval of the Market Place Parcel B temporary parking lot permit we covered last month. A meeting for public comment and review was scheduled for November 13th.
  • At their October 16th meeting, City Council approved the form of the affordable housing agreement and an operations and maintenance agreement for the Sherwin-William’s project.
  • City Council approved the purchase of artwork for the City’s annual purchase award. The purchased piece is titled “silhouette” which was created by Emeryville artist Sarah Paloma. It will be housed in City hall, and a reception celebrating the purchase will be held at City Hall on December 13th starting at 5:30 PM.
  • City Council approved funding for a new playground and other improvements for Davenport Park which is immediately west of Trader Vic’s on Powell Street.
  • Council held discussions on the design of the 40th and San Pablo Ave. bus hub. Council’s direction was for street parking to be removed, there should be bus only lanes in both directions, and a two-bike facility on the north side of 40th from Adeline to IKEA.

Public Hearing: Rochambeau Cannabis Dispensary (Public Hearing)

The Planning Commission’s lone hearing was a proposed amendment to a major conditional use permit that would allow the dispensary to add 2,210 square feet of space to their existing cannabis retail dispensary at 3996 San Pablo Avenue. The space is on the ground floor of the Andante Mixed Use residential development. Rochambeau is currently performing tenant improvements, having received a building permit back on June 20, 2018. The space they would take over was formerly being rented out by the Smith Tax Office.

As originally approved by the Planning Commission on February 22, 2018, the dispensary will include retail sale and on-site consumption of cannabis products (a tasting bar), on-site pick up, and home delivery. The facility is expected to have 20 employees, and approximately 300 customers per day are expected. The facility will continue to have rights to 90 parking spaces in the Andante garage that are shared by all the commercial uses in the complex.

Rochambeau representative Sean Luse highlighted that the extra space will allow them to accomplish their initial goals of providing a well-rounded service with appropriate security and disposal facilities,

“from an operational perspective… nothing is really changing about our use, just our ability to actually perform the use better.”

The Council took some issue with the location of the dispensary’s proposed security office which would be located near the front window and could be vulnerable.

As Commissioner Keller summed up:

“The Security area seems a little misplaced to me because of the glass [frontage window]…that seems like a security risk to have your servers, your camera monitoring right in an area that can be snatched and reached.”

Commissioner Young also raised concerns about the store layout, which is modeled after Apple stores, could be susceptible to smash and grabs, which has been a recent issue throughout the bay area at Apple stores. Rochambeau clarified that only small samples of products would be out on the show room, which should limit any incentive to attempt to steal any product.

After minimal discussion the proposed amendment was unanimously approved by the Commission.

View the Entire Staff Report
Watch the staff presentation and subsequent commission discussion above at [9:02].

About The Author

was born and raised in the north bay and now lives on the Emeryville/Oakland border in the Longfellow neighborhood with his wife and two cats (Sherlock and Watson). When he's not writing, Chris works as an attorney who assist engineers and professional consultants navigate their contracts and related business issues.

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