April 2014

Pot May Be Cultivated Southside

Keith Burbank

Community reaction to a planned marijuana nursery at Indiana and 25th streets is mixed, though residents may be largely unaware that a commercial grow house may be developed nearby. 

“We have received some feedback on the proposal,” said Andrea Bruss, from District 10 Supervisor Malia Cohen’s office. “We have only received one email from a constituent who is opposed. We have heard from a few neighbors in the area that are supportive. We have also referred the project sponsor to DNA [Dogpatch Neighborhood Association] to present as well.”

“I’m not familiar with any proposal for a marijuana nursery at Indiana and 25th, and if the surrounding neighborhood is just as unaware as I am, then I consider that to be a problem,” said Tony Kelly, who is running against Cohen for supervisor. “I don’t have any particular opinion of a marijuana nursery, any more than a distillery or a greenhouse, or a brew pub or a liquor store or a Walgreens. What matters to me is neighborhood notification, and productive responses and attention to neighborhood concerns.”

As of mid-March, representatives of the nursery hadn’t presented at DNA. When the View initially visited the site to ask questions, the reporter was immediately escorted out of the building. “I have no comment. I’ll have to ask you to leave,” said the person who walked the reporter out.

Parts of the entry door were covered with tape; the door appeared to have been recently painted. A plumbing contractor’s truck was in a nearby parking spot. Inside, one worker appeared to be installing an air conditioning duct.

According to documents at the San Francisco Department of Building Inspection, the site will be a hydroponic greenhouse. A separate building permit, which cost $3,000, indicates that the owner is installing a 3,000 liter carbon dioxide tank. 

Permit records state that the lessee of the property is Erich Pearson. At one time, Pearson served on the board of the San Francisco Patient and Resource Center (SPARC), a nonprofit collective providing cannabis and subsidized health services to its members. Pearson wasn’t available to answer questions as of press time, but according to SPARC’s executive director, Robert Jacob, Pearson is the general contractor for the nursery, which is owned by SPARC. DBI records show the authorized agent as Dennis Chi Sum Yeung. 

“I haven’t seen any actual plans for what they might do to the building to improve things,” said Susan Eslick, vice president, DNA. “I understand from Bruce Huie, who lives down there, that the owners are very community-minded. Frankly, I have no issues with a grow facility that is run properly, wired to code, and provides jobs in our neighborhood.”

“I’m glad that this site will not be a retail location,” said parent Leslie Grossblatt. “I’m excited to see the improvements they have planned for the area, including new lighting and plantings. They’ve already shown their commitment to the community by supporting the [Dogpatch] playground project, which we really appreciate. We look forward to seeing more positive improvements from them that will benefit the entire community.”

Other residents were less supportive. “It’s dope!” said Jim, a Dogpatch resident who asked to be identified by his first name only. “No matter what your stance is on legalization, it is dope. It is not the issue of legalizing pot, but that of the community, property value, schools—why so many young families leave the City—and morals and ethics—again, why so many young families leave the City —of those who undermine the community for profit versus better good. Yes, we are sending a message to the kids about right and wrong for future generations of the City.”

“I hadn’t heard about that,” said Briony Doyle, a local parent. “I’m generally against recreational drugs, so I wouldn’t like to see anything that encouraged that. Especially if there was a risk that it would increase crime in the area.” 

“We are very supportive of the new business,” said Bruce Huie, who helped create Progress Park. “He’s [the owner] really open to having conversations with the community. There’s an openness and transparency” on the part of the owner. Like Grossblatt, Huie is pleased SPARC is improving the building and landscaping.

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