Thursday, February 4, 2016

Press release - Town Council seeks community input on two important issues

Windsor Town Council seeks community input on two policy issues: Medical Marijuana Cultivation and Vacation Rentals by Owner

Windsor, California (February 4, 2016) At the regular Town Council meeting of Wednesday, February 17, 2016, beginning at 6pm, the Windsor Town Council will take up two issues of significance.

 The Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act (MMRSA) is a package of three pieces of State legislation which addresses the regulation and licensing of dispensaries, delivery of medical marijuana, and cultivation of medical marijuana.

The Town already expressly prohibits medical marijuana dispensaries and the MMRSA does not require further action by the Town to continue its current prohibition. Further, the Town does not prohibit deliveries of medical marijuana to patients living in Town limits. The MMRSA provides that unless the Town adopts an ordinance expressly prohibiting deliveries of medical marijuana within Town limits, deliveries from dispensaries outside of Town limits may continue to be made, if they are licensed by the State. At its meeting of January 20, 2016, the Town Council decided not to take action to prohibit deliveries. In terms of cultivation, medical marijuana cultivation is currently banned in the Town of Windsor.

 The MMRSA also provides a comprehensive State licensing scheme for cultivation of medical marijuana. At the Town Council meeting of January 20, 2016, the Town Council provided direction to staff to return to Council with a proposed resolution expressly reaffirming and confirming that marijuana cultivation is currently banned in Windsor pursuant to its zoning ordinance. 

 Also on January 20, Councilmembers expressed a desire to continue to ban or limit marijuana cultivation in residential zoning districts. Some interest was expressed in researching permitting commercial cultivation of marijuana in industrial zoning districts. At the February 17 Council meeting, Town staff will be seeking further direction as to Council’s desired scope of study and possible action on a commercial cultivation ordinance.

 Vacation Rentals by Owner is a preliminary policy discussion to be held at the meeting of February 17. The Town has traditionally taken a limited role with respect to vacation rentals operating within the boundaries of the Town of Windsor.  The Town Council has requested a review of the current Town processes and policies for managing vacation rentals as well as options including prohibiting or expressly permitting vacation rentals.  The scope of this overview to be presented by staff also includes a study of the current vacation rental landscape, hosted vacation rentals where a portion of the home is rented while the owner remains onsite, steps required to implement each scenario and the pros and cons of each option.   For purposes of this policy overview, vacation rentals are defined as vacation rentals by owners, or VRBOs, and include the renting out of a portion or the entirety of a furnished apartment, house, or professionally managed resort-condominium complex on a temporary basis to tourists as an alternative to a hotel. 

 Councilmembers have expressed an interest in determining the amount of revenue which may be available to the Town if the Town’s transient occupancy tax (TOT) ordinance were extended to encompass vacation rentals.

 The Town Council is interested in community input regarding these issues and welcomes resident participation at the Council meeting. Written feedback may also be provided to the Council via email to