City Council to discuss local pot rules
EVERETT - In addition to the state rules, the city is proposing a local zoning ordinance to restrict where recreational marijuana retailers, processors and producers can locate within city limits.
The city wants to avoid a cluster of retail shops and is proposing a 2,500-foot buffer between shops. Producers and processors would be restricted to a limited number of industrial and agricultural zoned locations.
The planning commission last week approved the proposed regulations.
The City Council is scheduled to hear about the regulations at this week’s meeting. A public hearing and a vote on an ordinance is scheduled for Wednesday, Aug. 28.
At one time, the planning department was considering a 5,000-foot buffer between retail shops. The 2,500-foot buffer opens up a few more locations for retailers.
The state requires a 1,000-foot buffer from public places like schools, libraries, day care centers and parks. Everett’s proposed ordinance prohibits retailers in residential zones and locations where businesses are allowed in residential neighborhoods.
This leaves a few places where retailers can locate in Everett.
According to a city map, some places marijuana retailers could locate are along parts of Evergreen Way, Everett Mall Way, a stretch of north Broadway around 16th Street and the western tip of Pacific Avenue.
Marijuana entrepreneurs say Everett’s additional buffer takes away viable space for retailers to locate. They also want to know what will happen if two retailers end up fighting over the same space because the separation buffer would only allow one to come in.
At this point, the city’s plan is to determine the winning retailer based on which retailer got his or her license from the state first. The idea was hashed out during the commission meeting.
David Tricas is leasing space on Everett Mall Way for a recreational shop. Tricas said using the state’s license numbering order is fair, but he appeared to have concerns that an unprepared retailer could win the city’s approval but fail to open up.
The state Liquor Control Board, which is charged with regulating recreational marijuana under Initiative 502, will restrict the number of licenses for each county based on a per capita demand study for each county.
The control board’s preliminary numbers suggest the Snohomish County market can handle about 35 marijuana retail stores, which is slightly more than the number of liquor stores in the county in 2012.
Agency spokesman Brian Smith said last week that that number shouldn’t change for Snohomish County when a fresher analysis comes out in October using newer marijuana consumption numbers.
The state wants to adopt its rules by Sept. 14 and shortly after that start issuing business licenses. The city would like its rules in place by then.
The city’s zoning regulations do not affect medical marijuana collective gardens, which Everett heavily clamped down on compared to other cities like Seattle and Shoreline.
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