Bread Store could be­come pot shop

The Sacramento Bee - - Local - BY THERESA CLIFT AND BENJY EGEL [email protected]

The Bread Store in the heart of mid­town could soon be­come a mar­i­juana dis­pen­sary.

Safe Ac­ces­si­ble So­lu­tions has ap­plied with the city to move to J Street be­tween 17th and 18th streets from an in­dus­trial area just east of Power Inn Road in South Sacra­mento where it has op­er­ated for about five years.

On Thurs­day, the city’s Plan­ning and De­sign Com­mis­sion will con­sider the pro­posal. If the com­mis­sion ap­proves it, and an ap­peal is filed, City Coun­cil will also need to ap­prove the move, said Joe De­vlin, the city’s chief of cannabis pol­icy and en­force­ment.

The Bread Store will likely stay open if the city does not ap­prove the dis­pen­sary, co-owner Andy Smith said. Smith, who also co-owns the build­ing un­der an LLC, said he didn’t an­tic­i­pate mid­town de­vel­op­ing into the re­tail space it is to­day when he opened the 5,500-square foot bak­ery in 1990.

“When we first built that space we didn’t know mid­town was go­ing to turn into mid­town. It was a pro­duc­tion fa­cil­ity in a part of town that was hon­estly pretty crappy back in 1990,” said Smith, 54. “Had we known where it was go­ing to go, we prob­a­bly would have built a big­ger res­tau­rant and done things dif­fer­ently.”

Smith be­gan se­ri­ously look­ing into clos­ing the bak­ery and rent­ing the space out about four to five months ago, he said. He de­clined to give a clos­ing date for The Bread Store be­cause the dis­pen­sary has not yet been ap­proved, but

said it could still pos­si­bly open in a smaller ca­pac­ity else­where.

Safe Ac­ces­si­ble So­lu­tions, which sells cannabis to med­i­cal pa­tients and recre­ational users, plans to open in The Bread Store’s space in Fe­bru­ary or March, said man­ager Cristina Ge­orgescu.

The pro­posal needs com­mis­sion re­view be­cause the dis­pen­sary would be lo­cated within 300 feet of a res­i­den­tial area and within 600 feet of a church, a drug re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion cen­ter and tobacco re­tailer, a city staff re­port said.

The drug re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion cen­ter refers to Wel­lS­pace Health fa­cil­ity, but the com­pany does not op­pose the dis­pen­sary, CEO Jonathan Por­teus said.

“Since al­co­hol and drugs are om­nipresent in so­ci­ety in gen­eral, we try to see the pres­ence of these kinds of busi­nesses as ex­am­ples of the chal­lenges peo­ple seek­ing so­bri­ety have to face all day ev­ery day,” Por­teus said in an email. “My or­ga­ni­za­tion did not op­pose BevMo when they took over the record store, I be­lieve it would be hyp­o­crit­i­cal to op­pose a dis­pen­sary since they are also legally au­tho­rized to sell in­tox­i­cants.”

The res­i­den­tial area men­tioned is a Sacra­mento Hous­ing and Re­de­vel­op­ment Agency apart­ment com­plex for el­derly and dis­abled res­i­dents, said An­gela Hunt, SHRA spokes­woman. She did not im­me­di­ately pro­vide ad­di­tional com­ments on the pro­posal.

The other prop­er­ties — St. John’s Lutheran Church and a CVS Phar­macy — did not im­me­di­ately re­spond for re­quests for com­ment.

Seven peo­ple who said they own prop­er­ties on the same block of J Street wrote let­ters to the city op­pos­ing the dis­pen­sary, mostly rais­ing park­ing con­cerns. Five of the seven let­ters are from peo­ple who said they own 1722 J St. — a va­cant store­front next to The Bread Store that’s in the pos­ses­sion of a trust, ac­cord­ing to county records.

There is a park­ing lot that abuts the Bread Store, but is only for BevMo cus­tomers, Greg En­dom, the chain’s se­nior vice pres­i­dent, wrote in an email to the city last month.

“The change in use from a neigh­bor­hood bak­ery to a cannabis dis­pen­sary will have a neg­a­tive ma­te­rial im­pact on the neigh­bor­hood and sur­round­ing com­mu­nity,” En­dom wrote.

The city code does not re­quire on-site park­ing for non­res­i­den­tial prop­er­ties on parcels un­der 6,400 square feet, the staff re­port said in re­sponse to the park­ing con­cerns. Cus­tomers can park on the street, walk or bi­cy­cle, it added.

The dis­pen­sary, which has sub­mit­ted a pro­posed se­cu­rity plan, would be open for sales from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., the staff re­port said.

Safe Ac­ces­si­ble So­lu­tions’ pro­posed move to mid­town is part of a larger trend for dis­pen­saries in the city.

The city loos­ened its re­quire­ments on how far dis­pen­saries need to be from churches, schools, tobacco re­tail­ers and from each other, De­vlin said. As a re­sult, sev­eral dis­pen­saries have ap­plied to move from in­dus­trial ar­eas in north and south Sacra­mento to closer to the city’s ur­ban core, De­vlin said.

The city has ap­proved dis­pen­sary Com­mu­nity Health So­lu­tions to move to 1918 16th St. from an in­dus­trial area in south­east Sacra­mento, De­vlin said. Staff has also ap­proved Green­stone to move to 2320 Broad­way in Cur­tis Park from an in­dus­trial area in North Sacra­mento, De­vlin said.

Dis­pen­saries like Safe Ac­ces­si­ble So­lu­tions want to move closer to mid­town and down­town be­cause there is more foot traf­fic and less com­pe­ti­tion.

“There’s a lot of us in south Sacra­mento,” Ge­orgescu said. “We’re kind of bunched to­gether, so it would ben­e­fit our whole busi­ness to move.”

RE­NEE C. BYER Sacra­mento Bee Staff Photo

Andy Smith, of The Bread Store, seen here in 2003, says the store may stay if pot shop is not ap­proved.

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