The St. Augustine Beach City Commission will take up two hotly debated issues this week: medical marijuana and paid parking.
Monday evening’s vote is expected to lay the groundwork for medical marijuana dispensaries to set up shop.
St. Augustine Beach City Manager Max Royle said, “We’ve been told by our city attorney that by state law we have to treat medical marijuana facilities like pharmacies. So any regulations that apply to pharmacies would apply to medical marijuana.”
Royle says the public will get a chance to weigh in on a proposed ordinance allowing pharmacies—and their cannabis-friendly counterparts—along a commercially zoned stretch of State Road A1A on the city’s west side.
The commission will also consider a measure to put an early end to a year-long ban on medical marijuana dispensaries that was approved in September.
Royle said, “Of course now we’ll repeal that ordinance and we’ll have the other ordinance adopted on final reading in another month. So then anyone who wants to locate along the state highway in the commercial areas there can do so.”
Monday’s St. Augustine Beach City Commission meeting starts at 6 p.m. at City Hall on A1A South. The meeting will also be streamed live on the city’s website.
Then on Tuesday, the City Commission will take up the issue of paid parking at a special meeting.
Royle said the idea of charging for parking has been under discussion for some time.
“We’re just gradually putting in place the framework of regulations. We’ve got about 75 percent of that in place right now, so what you’re looking at on the agenda is sort of the final steps,” he said.
For example, the plan approved by the commission in December didn’t include a method of payment.
“Is it to be a smartphone app system or some other means like a kiosk or even the old fashioned parking meter? We’re leaning toward the app system because that’s the most modern,” he said.
But the idea of charging St. Augustine Beach residents to pay for parking at their hometown beach has not been well received.
The city’s original goal was to start charging for parking this spring. But after much pushback, the city manager said that was delayed until Memorial Day at the earliest.
Tuesday’s special meeting on paid parking starts at 6 p.m. at City Hall. It will be streamed live on the city’s website.