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Harvest Corner, LLC barely escaped the wrath of Banning Mayor Daniela Andrade in approving a conditional use permit to open up a retail cannabis outfit in a former medical care business building.

Andrade, impatient that three applicants who won a lottery to be allowed to open retail cannabis outlets along a specifically zoned area along West Ramsey Street have yet to see the light of day more than a year after permits were extended as they were set to expire this past May.

An ordinance that Banning approved Tuesday evening reduces the amount of time the city allows conditional use permits for retail cannabis establishments to submit completed applications within 90 days upon notification that an applicant had been selected.

Building plans will have to be submitted within 30 days of a retail cannabis conditional use permit being approved, and construction must begin within 60 days of a building permit’s issuance.

The city also voted to keep a required 200-foot setback from residential areas in place, as well as ensuring that zoning of where retail cannabis shops can operate will continue to be limited along West Ramsey Street between Sunset Avenue and 8th Street.

However, Huntington Beach-based Harvest Corner and two other retail cannabis shops previously approved by Banning’s city council are grandfathered in without the accelerated process.

Andrade was visibly annoyed that the process could not be applied retroactively.

Harvest Corner will occupy space owned by Muhammad S. Akhtar of Beaumont, who previously hosted a business called Urgent Care at 1034 W. Ramsey St., Unit A, which is adjacent to the Department of Motor Vehicles office.

According to the city staff’s report, applicant Delwyn Prendergast applied for a cannabis regulatory permit on Feb. 20, 2019, and applied for his conditional use permit on April 22, 2020.

According to the city, the applicant intends to sell retail and medical cannabis and related products, as well as T-shirts, pipes, papers and related merchandise.

The building is 3,847 square feet, and the applicant has proposed to remodel the lobby area, retail sales area, office and storage space, and a security room, and bring the business into ADA compliance.

The business will also expand the sidewalk out front.

Consultant Laura Leindecker, representing the Harvest Corner, addressed the mayor’s concerns, saying that she was confident the business would open by this fall, and criticized an accelerated process as conditions for retail cannabis shops to open.

While her client’s business escapes the amendments to the municipal code that governs any future cannabis outlets that might open.

The city allows one cannabis retail shop per 10,000 residents; with a population of roughly 32,000, another one could become eligible to open should Banning’s population hit 40,000.

Staff Writer David James Heiss may be reached at dheiss@recordgazette.net , or by calling (951) 849-4586 x114.

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