The Mission Street corridor could soon have a new marijuana dispensary, bringing the neighborhood’s total to six.
Despite a few raised eyebrows over the proposed location of the Shamala Healing Center, as it would be called, the Planning Commission has decided to move forward, scheduling discretionary review of the permit application for its December 16 meeting.
Shamala would be more of a clinic than the average San Francisco pot club, says Krissy Keefer, who has been working with the building’s owner to open the dispensary. Keefer, a longtime Mission resident and the artistic director of Dance Mission Theater, says she has received a lot of support letters, and very few in opposition.
The storefront in question, formerly occupied by a hip-hop clothing store called Privilege, is at 2441 Mission Street, near 20th. New Door Ventures, a nonprofit that connects at-risk youth with jobs, is just a few blocks away, at 21st and Shotwell. Under the city’s planning code, pot clubs cannot operate within 1,000 feet of a community center that serves youth under age 18.
According to Google maps, New Door and the proposed pot club are close to 1,056 feet from each other. But according to the Planning Department, both New Door and the nearby Jose Coronado Playhouse would potentially bar any pot club from opening in that location.
Officials from the city’s Recreation and Park Department told Edgar Oropeza, the planner assigned to the proposal, that the Jose Coronado Playhouse is closed. Oropeza didn’t realize that New Door Ventures existed until a Mission Loc@l reporter called to ask how New Door would affect the permit approval. New Door, it turns out, was essentially invisible to the Planning Department because it was occupying a building that is zoned for industrial use only.
Scott Sanchez, the city’s zoning administrator, determined that the nonprofit did not have the proper permits to convert the building from industrial use to offices and training space for youth. “This is an enforcement issue,” Sanchez said. ”We will have to work with them to achieve compliance.”
Tess Reynolds, the CEO of New Door Ventures, could not immediately be reached for comment. However, she told Mission Loc@l last week that the group would work to get the right permits.
This would seem like a stroke of good fortune for the Shamala Healing Center. But despite clearing those hurdles, the fate of the pot club lies with the Planning Commission.
“The proposal can be completely code-compliant, but the Planning Commission can still deny it,” said Sanchez, adding that this could be for any reason.
This was the case with a dispensary in the Sunset District. The Planning Commission approved the initial permit, but the Board of Appeals denied it based on opposition from neighbors.
For her part, Keefer is relieved that the permit hearing has been scheduled and the process is moving forward. “If it does work, it’s going to become really obvious and we are going to fix it,” she said. ”My thing is, give us a chance.”