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Council wrap: Pot stores banned

Lyons extension EIR, traffic study OK'd; locals fight MRF

Posted: March 12, 2008 1:45 a.m.
Updated: May 13, 2008 5:02 a.m.
 
Medical marijuana dispensaries will be illegal in Santa Clarita beginning in April after the City Council approved the city-wide ban Tuesday night.

The ordinance will not ban medical marijuana prescriptions, but will prohibit any site, facility, business and vending machine in the city that distributes or processes marijuana for medical purposes for physicians and their qualified patients.

Adoption of the ordinance coincides with the expiration of a two-year moratorium the council created in 2006 to ban dispensaries in the city.

The city determined that a conflict between federal and state law makes it unclear if such dispensaries would be legal within the city.

Federal law prohibits the use of marijuana, while the state provides an exception if used for medical purposes.

The new ordinance will go into effect April 10.

In other business, nearly 30 Newhall and Canyon Country residents spoke out against plans for a large recycling center along Sierra Highway in Newhall.

Burrtec Waste Industries, Inc. is planning the materials recovery facility on a 72-acre site between Placerita Canyon Road and Golden Valley Road. The MRF could eventually process up to 3,000 tons of the Santa Clarita Valley's waste per day, but levels will likely begin at 1,000 tons per day.

Residents have rallied together in forming a Stop the Dump committee and spoken out about their concerns over the potential for increased traffic congestion, flies and rodents and pollution in their back yards.

"It is inappropriate to site a commercial venture in an area zoned residential," said Alan Ferdman, chairman of the Canyon Country Advisory Committee.

Twenty-one-year resident Kathy Thompson said, "This is the city that valiantly fought the Elsmere Canyon Landfill ... Why doesn't the city fight this?"

Because the issue was not listed on the agenda, the council could not take action on the topic. Councilman Frank Ferry, however, said he wanted to take a stand.

"I am not going to go through this for the next two years," he said. "Burrtec did a poor job if all these residents are here."

City Manager Ken Pulskamp stressed that the MRF is a recycling facility rather than a dump and said the city has not approved the plans.

The council later approved an agreement to begin drawing up the first stage of an environmental impact report for extending Lyons Avenue to cross San Fernando Road - now Railroad Avenue.

The new intersection would be a key step in the city's plan to develop a 200-acre area of the northern portion of Newhall.

The council also approved an agreement to perform a traffic study as part of the fourth and fifth phases of the joint city-county One Valley One Vision General Plan.

The study will look at existing traffic conditions and the traffic that could be generated from potential developments.

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