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Current Pending Code Amendments:
- Marijuana: New policy is currently pending regarding the recreational sale, growth, and manufacturing of marijuana within the City of Santa Cruz. When the policy is drafted, the public will have their opportunity to provide input. Be sure to sign up for e-notifications.
- Short-Term Rental Ordinance (4/27/2018)
- Downtown Recovery Plan development standards are being updated to allow for more housing opportunities downtown.
Deals with the development of city-wide and neighborhood plans and programs. It involves adoption and maintenance of the General Plan and General Plan Map, its elements, area plans and the Local Coastal Program. Important to this division is liaison with other jurisdictions, neighborhood, business and civic groups.
- Developing amendments to the Zoning Ordinance and Zoning Map
- Facilitating historic preservation through the Historic Preservation Program
- Providing public information regarding City planning, interdepartmental/interjurisdictional coordination, census data analysis, and economic development.
- Carrying out research projects under direction of the City Council and Planning Commission
- Update the Housing Element
What are the current medical cannabis regulations?
A medical marijuana dispensary is defined in the City’s Zoning Ordinance as a nonresidential occupancy that is limited to the cultivation, production, acquisition, and dispensing of medical marijuana. The use is not permitted as an accessory use to any other principal, special, or conditional use, nor may it be permitted as a home business within any district of the City. Medical Marijuana dispensaries are allowed in the Community Commercial (CC), Thoroughfare Commercial (CT), Industrial (IG), and General Industrial Performance District (IG-PER 2) zoning districts and require approval of a Special Use Permit by the Planning Commission. The siting criteria includes a 600-foot setback from any residential zoning district, any other medical marijuana dispensary, any public or private school, a public park with a children’s playground, an alcohol or drug recovery or treatment facility, or any residential facility providing mental health/social rehabilitation services. The existing siting criteria restricts where medical marijuana dispensaries can locate to a small section of the Harvey West industrial area and another small section in the west side industrial area.In 2010, the U.S. Attorney General directed Federal drug enforcement agencies to cease enforcement of Federal Narcotic restrictions, including property confiscation, when medical marijuana dispensaries were operating within State and local regulations. The City experienced a surge of applicants requesting permits to operate medical marijuana dispensaries, and as part of the 2010 ordinance revision, the City Council limited the number of dispensaries to two. That limitation also provided a period of time to evaluate impacts from those uses on the neighborhoods in which they were located. The Santa Cruz Police Department reports that there have been no impacts related to calls-for-service from the existing dispensaries.
Short Term Rental Regulation Background
The City Council has expressed concerns over the potential loss of long-term rental housing and the potential impacts to neighborhoods as a result of using housing for STRs. On October 25, 2016, the City Council adopted an urgency interim ordinance, effective immediately, imposing a temporary (45 day) moratorium on the establishment of STRs in a housing unit or duplex not occupied by the owner of that housing unit or duplex. On November 22, 2016 the moratorium was extended until May 2017 to allow time to develop draft rules for consideration by the City Council. On May 18, 2017 the City Council extended the moratorium again until May 31, 2018 to allow time to develop a short-term rental ordinance.
The City Council appointed an ad hoc subcommittee of residents to develop a framework as to how the City may consider regulating STRs. The Subcommittee has concluded their work and their recommendations were passed on to the Planning Commission. To see more on the Subcommittee's work click here.
On July 20, 2017, after two meetings, the Planning Commission finalized their recommendations on a Draft Short Term Rental Ordinance. These recommendations have been passed on the City Council.
How can I find out when a new building/project is being proposed?Join the eNotification list to stay up to date on current projects. If you are interested in planning and community development you will want to sign up for eNotifications of the following advisory bodies: Planning Commission, Historic Preservation Commission, Zoning Administrator, and City Council.