Tracy voters will have two measures to decide on come Nov. 3.
The first will establish the local tax on cannabis businesses in Tracy. Voters will decide whether the city should charge a 6% local sales tax on retail sales of cannabis products in Tracy and a 4% tax on all other sales of cannabis products. The measure also establishes a $12 per-square-foot tax on indoor commercial cultivation operations. Outdoor cultivation is not allowed in Tracy.
Those new taxes are expected to add up to a yearly total of $350,000 and $700,000 for the city, which the ballot measure states would go toward public safety, public works, parks and community services.
The Tracy City Council authorized the measure on a unanimous vote in May as it continued to hammer out the details of how business licenses will be issued. Council members have agreed so far that Tracy will have as many as four cannabis retail shops and no limit on the number of other types of businesses, such as cultivation, distribution, manufacturing, or testing labs.
Applications for business permits, the retail shops in particular, will be rated on the business owners’ plans for social equity in ownership and hiring and their plans to provide community benefits, with preference for local ownership.
California voters legalized the cultivation, sale and possession of recreational cannabis with Proposition 64, which passed on Nov. 8, 2016, with 57.1% of voters in favor. The proposition left it up to local jurisdictions to pass their own laws to regulate cultivation and sales.
Also on the ballot is a measure that would provide exemptions to the city’s growth management ordinance to allow development of up to 2,200 homes in and around downtown Tracy. The measure, which the Tracy City Council authorized last month, cites transit-oriented development around commuter rail in particular, with the future Valley Link rail line named in the measure summary. It includes a requirement that at least 10% of that new development be designated as affordable workforce housing, based on the city’s median income.
The Tri-Valley-San Joaquin Valley Regional Rail Authority, which is planning the Valley Link line between Stockton and the Dublin-Pleasanton BART station, expects to turn the Tracy Transit Station at Sixth Street and Central Avenue into a regional commuter hub by 2028. The authority also recommends that cities plan for transit-oriented development, which it defines as up to 2,200 dwellings, including houses and apartments, within a half-mile of a transit station.
Tracy is creating a specific plan that would outline development near the downtown transit station, including development of the Bowtie area, where railroad tracks cross Central Avenue between Fourth and Sixth streets. That plan would also allow for development of a 760-acre area east of the Bowtie.
Tracy voters amended the city’s growth management ordinance in 2000 to limit development to no more than 750 homes per year, and the average rate of development must stay at 600 homes per year. The 2000 measure required that exemptions to those limits must also be approved by voters.