The top-ranked dispensary in Turlock’s cannabis pilot program will move forward with plans to move into its desired space on Main Street after the City Council denied an appeal against the location during their meeting Tuesday night.
On Jan. 16, Firehouse was unanimously granted a Conditional Use Permit by the Planning Commission to operate a dispensary at 1601 W. Main St. in the former Waffle Shop location. The building’s proximity to Osborn Two-Way Immersion Academy brought several community members to the January meeting in opposition of the business, and shortly after the meeting an appeal was filed by Turlock resident Ronald Bridegroom.
Typically, the approval of a CUP from the Planning Commission would be the final step in the process to open a dispensary in town, however, Bridegroom’s appeal required the item to go before the City Council for a final say. Bridegroom laid out his reasons — which he referred to as “strong, legal arguments” — for the appeal during a quasi-judicial hearing at Tuesday’s Council meeting. First, he believed the project had not won the support of the community; second, the proposed business would adversely affect neighboring properties; and third, the business would be detrimental to the public welfare of the community. All of these violate the City’s Municipal Code, he stated.
“Any one of these is enough for the Firehouse CUP to be denied,” Bridegroom argued.
Firehouse is one of four retail locations that will be allowed in Turlock as part of its cannabis pilot program, which saw the Council reverse its ban on marijuana operations when the program was approved in May 2019. The program allows for the four dispensaries and an unlimited number of cannabis cultivation, manufacturing, testing and distribution sites. Over 30 candidates applied to operate dispensaries in town, with City staff ranking each