CONCORD, CA (Feb. 20, 2022) — The city will have its first storefront cannabis business this summer, after the City Council voted to transform a vacant 4,100 sq. ft. former restaurant space into a retail store.
The council voted 4-1 on Jan. 25, with Councilmember Laura Hoffmeister opposing, for the administrative permit application, the design and site review plan and the development agreement with Coastal Retail Concord, LLC. Final approved is expected at the Feb. 22 meeting.
Coastal will open as early as August at 1847 Willow Pass Road in Concord’s Park & Shop Center, filling the space previously occupied by STIX Eatery and, before that, McDonald’s.
The approval caps a process started in May 2020, when Concord amended its municipal code to allow adult-use cannabis licenses for up to three certified businesses. Coastal is one of 14 businesses that submitted proposals, making it through the review process to the top three applicants and becoming the first approved.
“I congratulate Coastal on becoming Concord’s first retail cannabis store, and I am grateful for their commitment to becoming a good community partner,” Mayor Dominic Aliano said.
The agreement projects city income of 1 percent of gross revenue or $20,000, whichever is higher, according to city staff reports. Coastal plans to hire Concord residents for the anticipated 26 full- and part-time positions.
“We always try to hire 100 percent local,” Miles Beck, who operates other cannabis stores, said at the virtual meeting.
Coastal has also pledged volunteer service to Concord – four hours per employee per month, where the business pays employees for this time, plus 12 hours per month for the collective owners.
In voting no, Hoffmeister cited the company’s guaranteed future rights to sell current products regardless of potential (but currently unplanned) city or regional ordinances that might limit or ban a product. “The (cannabis) industry is saying, ‘We want carte blanche to be exempt from that’ and I can’t support it at this time,” she said.
Resident Mike McDermott also was opposed to that part of the plan.
“It ties the hands of the council” if a retail product “turns out to be harmful,” he said, before criticizing the location. “It is the worst location possible – in a shopping center with busy dining spaces on either side, families coming and going, no control of the parking lot. If we go with this, we really have to be careful about having adequate security in place.”
The managers of the Mediterranean and Rockin’ Crawfish said they welcome the new neighbor in the space between their longtime restaurants.
“I hope it will bring business to everyone around here,” said Hoang Huynh, manager of Rockin’ Crawfish, which is around a corner and behind the space Coastal will renovate.
Out for dinner on Feb. 8, Tommy Boonkeut contemplated the menu ranging from seafood to chicken to Cajun fries. “I don’t see anything wrong with it,” he said of the cannabis store. “I myself used to smoke, medicate. It could be good, especially if it brings business to this restaurant.”
Karen Jenkins is pleased to be a correspondent with the Concord Clayton Pioneer News. She has worked as a community journalist on and off for three decades at publications including the Contra Costa Sun in Lamorinda; the Antioch Daily Ledger; the Avon-Beaver Creek Times in Colorado; Roll Call in Washington, D.C. and the Daily Nexus at UC-Santa Barbara. She is also the student advisor for The Sentinel, the student newspaper at Northgate High School in Walnut Creek. She may be reached at Karenjenkins241@gmail.com.