Amendments to the cannabis business licensing ordinance were unanimously approved Tuesday by the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors to improve efficiency and speed of application processing.
Supervisors were generally pleased with the changes proposed by the County Planning and Development Department staff and recommended by the Planning Commission.
But they also asked staff for information about how a change in ownership might affect an operation’s place in line in relation to the county’s acreage cap.
Once approved projects equal the county’s cap, projects still in line for approval would not be able to obtain land use permits and business licenses.
One of the amendments to the Chapter 50 business licensing ordinance raised the threshold for a change in ownership to trigger the need for a new license application from 10% to 20%.
Board Chairman and 4th District Supervisor Bob Nelson asked how that would affect an applicant’s place in line.
Assistant County Executive Officer Barney Melekian said if the cap hadn’t been reached, an applicant would not have to go back to the end of the line if the ownership changes.
But the license application would be on hold, so others could pass that operator in line as their license applications continue to be processed.
Melekian was uncertain how it would affect an applicant after the cap had been reached.
“I would encourage anyone going through the business license process not to go through a change of ownership,” he said.
Other changes to the ordinance move the approval of a security plan up to the same point in the process as approval of a site plan, requires an operator to submit a business license application within 15 days of being granted a land use permit, and clarifies that failure to file a tax report or pay taxes are considered tax delinquencies.
In a change requested by operators, seasonal employees may work at different operations using the same IDs and Live Scan background checks.