INDIO, CA (July 25, 2018) – In order to preserve the City of Indio’s legal appeal rights, on Tuesday July 24, 2018, the Indio City Attorney’s Office reluctantly filed a Petition for Writ of Mandate and a Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief in reference to The Lighthouse, a retail business that sells recreational marijuana located on Avenue 48 and Van Buren Street in the City of Coachella.
It is important to express that the City of Indio did not make this decision lightly as it recognizes and values the right of every city to exercise local control over land use matters within their jurisdiction. This lawsuit does not challenge the City of Coachella’s rights to allow the sale of recreational marijuana within their community. The City of Indio relayed this message to the City of Coachella on numerous occasions. Rather, the complaint challenges the discretionary actions taken by the City of Coachella to permit the temporary and permanent operations of The Lighthouse dispensary without following the statutory process for issuing those entitlements.
Such action has disadvantaged those entities that have concerns regarding the location of this particular recreational marijuana retail business. The Lighthouse is located within close proximity of Martin Van Buren Elementary School in the City of Indio, the Coachella Valley Rescue Mission as well as hundreds of rental housing units provided by the Coachella Valley Housing Coalition, including farmworker housing, and near the multi-family residential community of Desert Gardens among other sensitive uses.
On three previous occasions, the City of Indio pointed out in writing the various procedural missteps in approving the temporary operation of The Lighthouse solely to allow the business to sell recreational marijuana during the three weekends of the music festivals as well as Coachella’s subsequent approval of its permanent operation. In seeking resolution outside of litigation, the City of Indio offered to enter into a tolling agreement with the City of Coachella to freeze the statute of limitations period to make filing of a legal action unnecessary. Unfortunately, our offer received no response.
Notwithstanding, the City of Indio and the other affected parties will continue to seek resolution of this matter outside of the legal system.