Lemoore neighbors oppose plan to sell city land to cannabis company

LEMOORE, Calif. (KFSN) -- UPDATE: Plans to turn nine acres of vacant, city-owned land in Lemoore into a commercial marijuana business have stalled.

Lemoore city manager Nathan Olson tells Action News the developer withdrew from the location during a meeting Monday night.

Without the developer, planning commissioners and council members were not able to approve the agreement.

Previous story below.

Nine acres of vacant, city-owned land on Lemoore's west side could soon be sold.

If all goes according to the city's plan-the buyer would operate commercial marijuana businesses on the site-including cultivation, manufacturing, distribution, and retail.

"I know people that are saying they will move," said Mark Gleaton. "Sell their homes and move if this happens."

Gleaton lives in the neighborhood and opposes the city's plan to sell the land to Valley Pure-a cannabis company that opened the Valley's first recreational dispensary in Woodlake last year.

Gleaton says many of his neighbors hadn't heard of the proposed agreement, but since learning about it, have joined forces with him.

"We're not anti-weed or anti-cannabis," he said. "We're anti-location. We've got houses, we have daycares, we have two neighborhood parks within under 600 feet from this site."

Gleaton worries about more traffic in an already busy area and believes home values could fall.

Lemoore's city manager says this deal would help alleviate some of the city's financial woes, with businesses at the site bringing in hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue for the city.

"This is a good operator with a proven track record that is solid," Nathan Olson said. "If anything I would argue, it's going to enhance their neighborhood because they're not going to have that bad piece of property anymore, they're going to have something nicely developed with a multimillion-dollar investment made at that corner."

"Many municipalities are welcoming in this cannabis activity because it is a good way to raise funds," said Lemoore resident and former Lemoore Mayor Ray Madrigal. "And I know that the city is in a hole right now, general-fund wise. So I applaud them and I totally support them in trying to do that but I just think there's a better option."

But this is just the first step.

If planning commissioners approve the agreement Monday night, it would still need to be approved by councilmembers.

The developer would also need to apply for general plan amendments and zone changes.

The land is currently tied to parks and recreation.

Lemoore does not have a cannabis tax measure on the books.

If voters were to approve one, Valley Pure would still be subject to the fee structure the city has in place right now.

Monday night's meeting will take place at the city council chambers at 7 p.m.
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