Grand Avenue Merchant News – December 2022

by Ken Katz

The current hot topic on Grand Avenue is a proposal by the Ohana Cannabis Company to open a dispensary at 3838 Grand, next door to One Medical. A city administrative hearing on Ohana’s application took place on October 24. Despite limited meeting notifications, fifteen individuals spoke in opposition and two in support.

Several weeks later, the Grand Lake Neighbors meeting on November 16 featured a presentation by Ohana’s President, Nasser Azimi, and three other company executives. In an email submitted the next day to Nancy Marcus in the City Administrator’s office, David Roe, a long-time Walker Avenue resident who lives directly behind the proposed site, shared the concerns neighbors expressed at that meeting. They included potential increases in noise levels, traffic congestion, security lighting, extended shopping hours, the proximity of two pre-K schools, and encroachment onto One Medical’s parking lot. David’s comments noted that Nasser had assured meeting attendees that Ohana had experience with mitigating measures for such concerns but had not provided tangible details. On November 23, the City Administrator’s office issued a hearing decision in favor of conditional approval subject to an appeal process to be filed no later than December 14. Parenthetically, in the above-mentioned November 17 email, David invited Nasser to participate in a second community meeting and to also to provide in writing  two days before that meeting a list of specific mitigation measures that they were prepared to implement. Nasser promptly responded: “Thank you for the follow up on the meeting with the neighbors.  I appreciate that immensely. I will reach out to my business partners and get back to you.”

This afternoon, David and Nasser came up with a date that works for everybody involved — December 6 from 7-8:30pm. Please click here to login to Zoom. As for the list of mitigation measures from Ohana, we’ll update this post when it’s available. The login info and list will also be posted on the Grand Lake Neighbors Facebook page.

December 4 postscript: We just received a copy of Ohana’s statement regarding neighborhood concerns and how concerns are going to be addressed which is available as a PDF file on this link.

One major highlight on Grand this past month was the Day of the Dead Celebration at Urban Furniture  with a lovely altar by artist Raquel Contreras as its centerpiece. This was a welcome return of a tradition launched by the late Holly Schneider at Studio Grand a decade earlier, and we sincerely hope it’s carried on in future years.

Two Two, the brand new shop at 3221 Grand, has scheduled the first of an ongoing selection of creative events. The December 2 No School Holiday Workshop and Party is open to all. In addition to a fabulous array of fashion, design, and crafts by emerging makers, they’re also featuring small gift items including Japanese chocolates and matcha. Current hours are Fridays and Saturdays from noon-6pm. Sunday, noon-5pm. All other days by email appointment only.

Alkali Rye’s December calendar begins this Saturday with a pair of free tastings — one of a gin that’s African grown and a mezcal distilled in Oaxaca. The following Saturday, tastings of Chareau Aloe Liqueur from noon-3pm and Barrell Whiskeys and Stellum Rye from 4-7pm. We recommend periodically checking their Event Calendar for last-minute additions.

The opening of the show of political posters at Panorama Framing on November was well received and will remain available for viewing until mid-December.

Grand Avenue News in Brief:.

  • Radbird Oakland has been substantially increasing its inventory. Latest additions are separate racks for jeans and jackets.
  • 8am Style has a new line of “sparkly hats” just in time for the holiday season.
  • The Grand Lake Theatre has an especially busy month with the premier of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever — initially on all four screens. Coming to the silver screen on December 15 — Avatar: The Way of Water.

Ken Katz founded the Splash Pad Neighborhood Forum in late 1999 and, in his role as Chair, coordinated the community efforts to lobby for a new park and subsequently served as a liaison to the City of Oakland and to Walter Hood’s office during the planning process. The first Splash Pad Newsletters were emailed beginning circa 2006. Currently, he acts as a contributor to—and publisher of—the monthly Splash Pad News. Keila Diehl proofreads all the copy, filters content as needed, and makes everyone involved look good.