Ahwatukee medical marijuana dispensary finds new location - Ahwatukee Foothills News: News

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Ahwatukee medical marijuana dispensary finds new location

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Posted: Thursday, April 18, 2013 2:17 pm

The company looking to open a medical marijuana dispensary in Ahwatukee Foothills has located a new site for a possible dispensary at 48th Street and Warner Road.

The company, Nature’s Healing Center, went through an exhaustive search to find a location, according to Peter Valenzuela, chief executive officer of the Genesis Group Public Affairs, who is representing the owners of Nature’s Healing Center. The company withdrew its application to open a dispensary at 4909 E. Chandler Blvd. last month after neighbors got together in opposition.

After that meeting Nature’s Healing Center engaged the services of Max Masel, a commercial real estate broker and member of the Ahwatukee Foothills Village Planning Committee. Masel pulled up every C-2 listing in Ahwatukee, which is the zoning required for a dispensary to go in. The license that Nature’s Healing Center has to open a dispensary requires them to open it in Ahwatukee.

The location that was found, 4902 E. Warner Road, is far enough away from homes, parks and schools but the dispensary owners will have to approach the city to get a variance because it is within 1,250 feet of a day care center. That day care center is about 1,000 feet away and has 11 kids under the age of 4 enrolled in preschool, Valenzuela said. The zoning adjustment hearing for that variance is scheduled for May 9.

When Nature’s Healing Center applies for the variance the city will give them a list of businesses and neighborhood groups they must notify of the hearing. Valenzuela said they will use that same list to inform the public of their own open house before the hearing.

“Before the hearing we’re going to have an open house in the area to invite all the Homeowners Associations and neighborhood groups that are in the area to come in and meet with us,” he said. “We want to show that here’s the security plan, here are the people running it, they’re very responsible business people. Signage will be minimal. Sometimes when you have neighborhood residents mobilize in opposition, often times it’s uninformed opposition. If we inform them of exactly what’s going to go on there and put to rest some of their fears or anxiety then we’re doing our job. We’ll have a meeting a few weeks out from this week and invite all the residents to come out and meet with us. We want to be proactive.”

City Councilman Sal DiCiccio said he is opposed to the idea of a dispensary coming into Ahwatukee, but he’s grateful that the owners decided to look for a new location. The City Council will not have a chance to vote on wether or not to put a dispensary in Ahwatukee. Arizona voters have already approved it.

• Contact writer: (480) 898-7914 or ahurtado@ahwatukee.com.

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