City creates Police Advisory Committee; discusses cannabis ordinance

Laney Griffo

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — The South Lake Tahoe City Council approved the creation of a Police Advisory Commission, a commission that community members have sought over the last year.

The commission will review use of force statistics, annual reports of complaints, investigations, nature, outcomes, ensure cultural competency, diversity, and bias training and recommend department policy changes, in addition to other tasks.

The commission will be made up of five members, two from the multi-cultural alliance, one from the school district or community college, one from the business community and one at-large member.

Police Chief David Stevenson and members of the council reiterated the importance of diversity on this commission.

The council approved it unanimously. The goal is to create the commission by August.

The council also discussed changes to the cannabis ordinance. The cannabis subcommittee recommended four changes; allowing retailers to include on-site consumption lounges, allowing permittees to hold more than one Cannabis Use Permit, increasing the allowable canopy size for indoor cultivation and establishing a cannabis tax.

Mayor Tamara Wallace said she was in support of on-site consumption and the cannabis tax but had some reservations about the other two issues.

The subcommittee is recommending the canopy size be increased from 5,000-square feet to 22,000-square feet which is the maximum allowed under state law.

“Just because it’s the state’s maximum doesn’t mean 22,000-square feet in South Lake is appropriate,” Wallace said.

As for multiple licenses, the main reason the city originally only allowed for one license per business was to keep the city’s industry from being monopolized by big companies. Middlebrook said they’ve proved their intent to keep the industry localized, this would just allow those local companies to have satellite shops.

The city is going to plan a workshop sometime in the next four-six weeks to get feedback from the community and nail down some of these issues.

Councilmember Cody Bass had recused himself from this conversation.

The council also approved a one-time grant to Boys and Girls Club Lake Tahoe using money collected from the cannabis community benefit fee for completion of their new building. Staff recommended a donation of $100,000 but the council enthusiastically agreed to increase the amount to $200,000.

Half of the remaining funds from the fee will be used for a grant program. Staff recommended those funds be distributed next March but Middlebrook asked for them to be given away sooner.

Bass was recused from that discussion too, as was Councilmember John Friedrich.

Finally, the council approved contract changes for City Attorney Heather Stroud and City Manager Joe Irvin after they both received both annual reviews.

Neither will be given pay raises but both received an increase to 457 matching contributions to $3,500 annually. Irvin asked for a one year increase to his contract which will now end in 2026.

The council expressed gratitude to both Stroud and Irvin.

The next council meeting will be June 1. Irvin said he is tentatively planning for that to be the last remote meeting.

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