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Appeals delay final rankings of Orcutt retail cannabis applicants | Government and Politics

The preliminary ranked list of applicants for a retail storefront operation in Orcutt released last week by the Santa Barbara County Executive Office won’t become final until after appeals by two potential operators are resolved.

Depending on the results of that review, the preliminary rankings could change before the final list is released.

Ranked first on the preliminary list was East Clark SB, doing business as Cookies, which is seeking a land use entitlement and a business license for a retail store at 1604 E. Clark Ave., Building B, Suite 1.

The site is at the southeast corner of East Clark Avenue and Stillwell Road.

But the second-ranked and fifth-ranked businesses both filed protests over the scoring of the applications that resulted in their positions on the ranked list.

The second-ranked applicant is Strategic Golden, doing business as Unique Farms, which hopes to operate a retail storefront at 155 E. Clark Ave.

SLO Cultivation, doing business as Sunnyside, ranked fifth in its quest for a retail storefront at 3550 Orcutt Road, Building C4.

Both businesses submitted their protests just before the appeal deadline expired at 5 p.m. Thursday, said Brittany Heaton, the county’s principal cannabis analyst.

“We hope to review and respond to those as quickly as we can, then we will be able to post the final list,” Heaton said. “We should be able to complete that by the end of the month — actually, we hope sooner than that.”

No. 3 on the preliminary list is Haven IX (Orcutt), which hopes to operate a retail storefront at 235 E. Clark Ave. Fourth-ranked is JCSB Ventures, doing business as beyond Hello, for a site at 3596 Orcutt Road.

Once the final list is posted, the top-ranked applicant will be able to start the process of obtaining a land use permit and a business license.

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Should that company choose not to continue the process or if it fails to obtain a permit and license, the opportunity would fall to the next applicant on the list.

Only applicants for a retail site within the Orcutt Community Plan Area that reached the third phase of the merit-based selection process were considered for the ranked list.

The rankings were determined following visits to the proposed storefront locations and a review and scoring of the neighborhood compatibility plans that were required as part of their applications.

Final ranked lists for the county’s five other community plan areas were released in April, but the county was blocked from taking action on the Orcutt list after Natural Healing Center Orcutt 405 LLC failed to reach that third phase of the selection process.

Attorneys for Natural Healing Center filed a petition for a writ of mandate March 10 asking the court to issue a stay, which a judge granted two days later.

Orcutt residents object to retail cannabis store in community

Natural Healing Center is owned by Helios Dayspring, who purchased Old Town Market at 405 E. Clark Ave. with the intent of opening a retail cannabis store at that location.

The petition alleged NHC failed to reach the third phase because the county’s consultant, HdL, improperly scored its application, giving the company a score of 84%. A score of 85% was required to reach the third phase.

However, the court order was recently vacated, allowing the county to move forward with the third phase of the process.

The preliminary ranking was released July 29, starting the clock on a five-day period for ranked applicants to appeal the list.

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