Marijuana Zoning Code Changes: Kirkland seeks public comment by June 23

PROPOSALThe City of Kirkland is studying possible amendments to the Zoning Code to reduce the distance between the property of a licensed marijuana retail business and a licensed child care center.  A public hearing to consider potential changes to the buffer requirements will be held jointly by the Planning Commission and Houghton Community Council at 7:00 p.m. on June 23, 2016 in the Council Chambers at 123 5th Avenue. 

This study is in response to recent legislation that allows local governments to adjust the buffer zone for marijuana retail businesses by local ordinance to no less than 100 feet around all entities, with the exception of elementary and secondary schools and public playgrounds.  The scope of Kirkland’s study does not include reductions to buffers from any of the other restricted entities (recreation centers or facilities, public parks, public transit centers, libraries, game arcades, playgrounds and elementary or secondary schools).  There is interest on the part of the City Council to allow some more flexibility In the location of retail operations, and the Council placed this topic for study on the Planning Work Program  last December. Kirkland has a total allotment of four marijuana retail licenses from the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board.  Changes to the buffer regulations would not result in more retail stores, but could provide more options and flexibility for businesses looking for locations within the city.

PUBLIC COMMENT:  During the hearing, anyone may speak or submit written comments.  Before the hearing, written comments may be submitted to the Planning Commission/Houghton Community Council in care of Dorian Collins of the Planning and Building Department, 123 5th Avenue, Kirkland, WA 98033 or to dcollins@kirklandwa.gov .  Please indicate your name, mailing address and e-mail address and refer to File No. CAM16-00961.

NEXT STEPS:  The recommendations of the Planning Commission and Houghton Community Council will be forwarded to the City Council for action at a public meeting.  The date of the City Council meeting has not been set.  Please visit the marijuana webpage for updates.

QUESTIONS?   Contact project planner, Dorian Collins at (425) 587-3249 or dcollins@kirklandwa.gov.