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ZONING AND LAND USE

These Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) are available to address any questions you may have regarding the allowance of Commercial Cannabis Activities in the unincorporated area of Stanislaus County. Please review the FAQ prior to contacting County staff. You may e-mail additional questions to cannabis@stancounty.com.

Frequently Asked Questions

Stanislaus County’s Commercial Cannabis Program applies to the unincorporated areas of the County only.

The County Planning Department is in the process of preparing an amendment to the County’s Zoning Ordinance, Title 21 of the County Code, to specify which commercial cannabis activities are permitted by zoning district. For example, commercial cannabis retail activities may be permitted by use permit in the C-2 (General Commercial) and Industrial (M) zoning districts and commercial cannabis manufacturing may be permitted by use permit in the M (Industrial) zoning district. Retail involving delivery only, no storefront, and manufacturing, non-volatile, may be permitted in the Planned Industrial (PI) zoning district with adoption of a development plan specifying the use(s). Various types and intensities of cannabis activities may also be permitted within the Planned Development (PD) zoning district through the adoption of a development plan. Cannabis cultivation, indoor grow only, may be permitted by use permit in the A-2 (General Agriculture) zoning district when utilizing a greenhouse or by development plan adoption in the PI and PD zoning districts when utilizing a warehouse building. Commercial cannabis cultivation will not be permitted on property under Williamson Act Contract. No outdoor cultivation permits will be permitted.

The Zoning Ordinance amendment will be reviewed by the Planning Commission for a recommendation to the Board of Supervisors on October 19, 2017. The Zoning Ordinance amendment will be presented to the Board of Supervisors for consideration at the same time as a commercial cannabis regulatory ordinance on December 5th, 2017. The zoning districts which permit commercial cannabis activities in the County is subject to change throughout the review and approval process of the County’s Commercial Cannabis Permitting Program.

Currently Testing Labs are proposed to be permitted in the C-2 (General Commercial), M (Industrial), and the PI (Planned Industrial) zoning districts, when a use permit is obtained. Testing Labs may be permitted in a Planned Development district when a Rezone permit is obtained.

Review the draft land use chart for the permitting of commercial cannabis.

The zoning districts which permit commercial cannabis activities in the County are subject to change throughout the review and approval process of the County’s Commercial Cannabis Permitting Program. The Zoning Ordinance amendment will be reviewed by the Planning Commission for a recommendation to the Board of Supervisors on October 19, 2017. The Zoning Ordinance amendment will be presented to the Board of Supervisors for consideration at the same time as a commercial cannabis regulatory ordinance on December 5, 2017.

Indoor cultivation may be combined with other license types in the M (Industrial), and the PI (Planned Industrial) zoning districts, when a use permit is obtained. Indoor cultivation may be permitted and combined with other license types in a Planned Development district when a Rezone permit is obtained. Cultivation may not be combined with other license types, with the exception of nursery only, in the A-2 (General Agricultural) zoning district.

Review the draft land use chart for the permitting of commercial cannabis.

The zoning districts which permit commercial cannabis activities in the County are subject to change throughout the review and approval process of the County’s Commercial Cannabis Permitting Program. The Zoning Ordinance amendment will be reviewed by the Planning Commission for a recommendation to the Board of Supervisors on October 19, 2017. The Zoning Ordinance amendment will be presented to the Board of Supervisors for consideration at the same time as a commercial cannabis regulatory ordinance on December 5th, 2017.

No. At this time, no restrictions on parcel size are proposed for cultivation permits in the A-2 zoning district.

Stanislaus County’s Commercial Cannabis Program applies to the unincorporated areas of the County only. For a map of the unincorporated area please visit the county's Graphical Information System maps. You may select the map layer showing the boundary of the incorporated cities. Outside of the city boundary areas are the unincorporated county areas that the proposed zoning changes will apply.

For a map of the unincorporated area please visit the county's Graphical Information System maps

You may select the map layer showing the boundary of the incorporated cities. Outside of the city boundary areas are the unincorporated county areas that the proposed zoning changes will apply.

All commercial cannabis activities are subject to a discretionary land use permit which requires written city approval when located within a Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO) Sphere of Influence

Sphere of Influence maps.

For more on the effect of Spheres of Influence on the County's discretionary approvals in land use decisions, see the County General Plan, land use element, Goal 5.

Yes. The County anticipates that the PI and PD zoning district may be a desired location for various commercial cannabis activities and will consider requests to operate in these zoning districts subject to approval of a discretionary land use permit. Excluded from consideration will be PD zoning districts permitting residential uses. The PI (Planned Industrial) zoning district does not permit retail uses, except in the case of very low traffic generating uses (e.g. custom cabinet shop showroom or by appointment automotive sales). As such, staff is recommending that retail-storefront commercial cannabis activities not be permitted in the PI zoning district. The option available to your client is a rezone to Planned Development (PD), which will also require a General Plan amendment. The timing for the rezone process aligns with the use permit/development agreement process being proposed for zoning districts where retail-storefront activities may be allowed by Use Permit. The rezone process will require the same level of environmental and public review as the use permit/development agreement. The biggest known issue for rezoning of a PI property to PD for retail use is on-site parking. While the PD zoning district does provide for greater flexibility in establishing a parking standard, a full parking analysis of the entire property will need to be conducted to make sure on-site parking is adequate for all customers and employees.

Review the draft land use chart for the permitting of commercial cannabis.

The zoning districts which permit commercial cannabis activities in the County are subject to change throughout the review and approval process of the County’s Commercial Cannabis Permitting Program. The Zoning Ordinance amendment will be reviewed by the Planning Commission for a recommendation to the Board of Supervisors on October 19, 2017. The Zoning Ordinance amendment will be presented to the Board of Supervisors for consideration at the same time as a commercial cannabis regulatory ordinance on December 5th, 2017.

Currently commercial cannabis cultivation permits are proposed to be permitted on land zoned A-2 (General Agriculture), when enclosed in a greenhouse, regardless of whether the property is enrolled in a Williamson Act Contract. However, if under contract the property will be required to provide findings showing that the proposed cultivation operation can meet the Williamson Act Principals of Compatibility, which include the following:

  1. The use will not significantly compromise the long-term productive agricultural capability of the subject contracted parcel or parcels or on other contracted lands in the A-2 zoning district.
  2. The use will not significantly displace or impair current or reasonably foreseeable agricultural operations on the subject contracted parcel or parcels or on other contracted lands in the A-2 zoning district. Uses that significantly displace agricultural operations on the subject contracted parcel or parcels may be deemed compatible if they relate directly to the production of commercial agricultural products on the subject contracted parcel or parcels or neighboring lands, including activities such as harvesting, processing, or shipping.
  3. The use will not result in the significant removal of adjacent contracted land from agricultural or open-space use.

Previously the FAQs indicated that cultivation was not going to be allowed on property under Williamson Act Contract. As with all zoning related questions, answers are subject to change throughout the review and approval process of the County’s Commercial Cannabis Permitting Program. The Zoning Ordinance amendment will be reviewed by the Planning Commission for a recommendation to the Board of Supervisors on October 19, 2017. The Zoning Ordinance amendment will be presented to the Board of Supervisors for consideration at the same time as a commercial cannabis regulatory ordinance on December 5, 2017.

No, Type 12 is not being considered on A-2 property as there is a commercial/retail component to it.

No. Staff is proposing that commercial cannabis activities not be permitted in the R (Residential) zoning districts.

Review the draft land use chart for the permitting of commercial cannabis.

The zoning districts which permit commercial cannabis activities in the County are subject to change throughout the review and approval process of the County’s Commercial Cannabis Permitting Program. The Zoning Ordinance amendment will be reviewed by the Planning Commission for a recommendation to the Board of Supervisors on October 19, 2017. The Zoning Ordinance amendment will be presented to the Board of Supervisors for consideration at the same time as a commercial cannabis regulatory ordinance on December 5, 2017.

Cannabis products are required to be out of public view, not the greenhouse itself. However, screening of the greenhouse may be required as a condition of approval of the cultivation land use permitting process. This will be determine don a case by case basis as land use permits for cultivation go through the environmental review and public review process.

Commercial cannabis retailers (dispensaries) may be permitted in the C-2 (General Commercial), M (Industrial), and P-D (Planned Development) zoning districts when a use permit or rezone permit is obtained. A maximum of 7 (seven) retailers may operate in the unincorporated areas of the County at one time. Non-store front (delivery only) retailers may also be permitted in the PI (Planned Industrial) zoning district when a use permit is obtained. Review the draft land use chart for the permitting of commercial cannabis.

The zoning districts which permit commercial cannabis activities in the County are subject to change throughout the review and approval process of the County’s Commercial Cannabis Permitting Program. The Zoning Ordinance amendment will be reviewed by the Planning Commission for a recommendation to the Board of Supervisors on October 19, 2017. The Zoning Ordinance amendment will be presented to the Board of Supervisors for consideration at the same time as a commercial cannabis regulatory ordinance on December 5th, 2017.

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