Carmel Valley planning board to send city a letter on marijuana issue


By Karen Billing

The Carmel Valley Community Planning Board said it wanted to be on record as opposing marijuana dispensaries in its community and voted April 25 to send a letter to the city regarding the city’s proposed medical marijuana ordinance.

“The letter will not take a position on the merits of medical marijuana and focus on land-use issues and protecting our neighborhoods from issues associated with those facilities,” said board member Manjeet Ranu.

The board’s letter comes on the heels of the April 22 San Diego City Council meeting in which the council kicked back Mayor Bob Filner’s ordinance that would have allowed dispensaries in more areas of the city, including Flower Hill Promenade, Del Mar Heights Village on Mango Drive, the Torrey Hills Shopping Center and the future Pacific Highlands Ranch Village Center.

Council directed city staff to draft a new ordinance, going back to the language similar to the city’s 2011’s ordinance.

Sending back the mayor’s proposed ordinance took many of the proposed community commercial zones off the list. The closest possible location to Carmel Valley would be in Sorrento Valley off Roselle Street.

Mel Millstein, a representative for Councilmember Sherri Lightner, said he does not see the issue coming back before council for another six to nine months.

Several community members spoke out against the ordinance at the meeting and stressed that they did not think “pot shop” storefronts belonged in their community. Resident Tom Heatherington said concern is that people with marijuana recommendations can get them filled and return one hour to the same shop and get it filled again with the purpose of having enough to sell. He said that marijuana will just end up out in the community being sold to local youth — he noted he’s found an empty vial from one of the San Diego “pot shops” in Carmel Del Mar Park.

Judi Strang, of the San Dieguito Alliance for Drug Free Youth, said her organization has been tracking the issue since the first shop opened in 2005. They seek to prevent marijuana from becoming “commercialized” and for it to be sold as a retail item in a retail setting.

“Retail settings say to our young people that it’s permissible,” Strang said.