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Clause assures if traffic on S. Main goes to pot that pot store will fix it
The interior of Embarc’s Martinez store.

Call it the Chick-Fil-A “poison pill.”

Embarc Manteca — in being granted a conditional use permit by the Manteca City Council to open what will be the city’s first retail cannabis storefront — will have to go back and make potential improvements on their dime should their operation create a traffic nightmare on South Main Street.

The clause built into the conditional use permit is similar to one that the city had with the Chick-Fil-A on Yosemite.

When traffic issues persisted beyond the grand opening, the city ultimately was able to go back and require the owner to pay for improvements that eliminated the perennial traffic backup on Northwoods Avenue and Yosemite Avenue.

The Manteca Planning Commission had reservations about Embarc  traffic movements regarding the site in the 1100 block of  South Main Street where the cannabis store will go into space once occupied by a gun shop behind the Dairy Queen.

The commission concerns focused on left turns in and out of the retail strip center where traffic often backs up in the northbound lanes of South Main blocking egress and ingress.

A traffic analysis indicated traffic movement in and out of the retail center has the potential to add 50 vehicles at peak hours.

If the city determines the traffic going to and from the cannabis store is consistently making traffic movements worse on South Main Street, the city will have the ability to go back and require improvements to be made to the left turn pockets and such.

Such a determination would be made not based on a peak once-a-year traffic day such as potentially to celebrate 4-20 — an unofficial marijuana celebration day — or during the initial period after the grand opening when interest is expected  to be at a higher level than once the business is established.

And given it is a conditional use permit that must be renewed annually, the council would have the option to yank it and effectively shut Embarc down if traffic improvements are determined by the city to be needed and Embarc doesn’t comply.

It was a 4-1 Manteca City Council vote on Tuesday approving the conditional use permit with Councilman Dave Breitenbucher dissenting.

Breitenbucher again referenced studies that have shown marijuana can impair athletic performance and have similar effects on reaction time as alcohol.

He expressed the belief the City Council was sending the wrong message to youth in saying it was OK to sell marijuana in Manteca even if the state had given them the ability to determine whether to allow such sales locally.

Councilman Jose Nuno again shared that he personally opposed marijuana use but said people in Manteca should have the ability to buy something that is legal to use without having to travel out of town.

Councilman Charlie Halford — while emphasizing revenue from cannabis sales wasn’t the motivating factor for him in switching from his original negative stance — pointed out Manteca is sending  a lot of tax revenue to nearby jurisdictions.

Halford said he is comfortable with security measures and protocols to control access to the store.

The addition of a license plate reader at the parking lot entrance in Embarc’s dime will also assure Manteca Police will be alerted if a vehicle belonging to a known felon or a vehicle reported stolen turns into the retail center’s driveway.

A resident brought up a concern that the Sylvan Learning Center was located in the same center as the cannabis store is located some 280 feet away.

There are eight classifications of uses that cannabis stores are not being allowed to open within 600 feet of in Manteca if they are already in place.

Staff clarified the learning center — essentially a for-profit tutoring center — does not qualify as a school.

Nevertheless, later on  in the meeting Breitenbucher asked that such learning centers be included in a municipal ordinance update that would apply to future locations that may be eventually approved in Manteca.


To contact Dennis Wyatt, email