Kirkland to hold Public Hearing Feb. 4 to Consider Marijuana Interim Zoning Regulations

The City of Kirkland is holding a Public Hearing to consider marijuana interim zoning regulations at City Hall on Tuesday, February 4 at 7:30 pm. The recommendation of staff is as follows: 

After conducting a public hearing, the City Council determines whether to approve the attached Ordinance which would prohibit the retail sale of recreational marijuana in the Market Street Corridor (MSC) 1 and/or MSC 2 Zones for a period of six months.

You may download the Public Hearing Notice here.

On January 21, 2014, the City Council reviewed a number of options for regulating the sale of recreational marijuana in Kirkland’s commercial zones. Following a lengthy discussion, the Council directed that interim regulations be prepared for consideration, following a public hearing, at its February 4, 2014 meeting. The Council initially focused on prohibiting marijuana sales in only the MSC 1 Zone, which extends along Market Street from 8th Avenue to 19th Avenue. However, in response to community concerns, the Council asked that the interim regulations also provide the option of prohibiting marijuana sales in the MSC 2 Zone, a small retail center located on the west side of Market Street between 14th Avenue West and 16th Avenue West.

The question has been raised as to whether the MSC 3 or MSC 4 Zones should also be included in the interim regulations. Staff does not feel that is necessary because under the current state regulations both MSC 3 and MSC 4 are within 1000 feet of active parks (either Heritage Park or Tot Lot Park) and therefore no marijuana retail sales are allowed.

The interim regulations are drafted to prohibit marijuana sales in both MSC 1 and MSC 2 Zones. Should the Council determine that it wishes to have the prohibition against retail marijuana sales apply to only the MSC 1 Zone, a motion could be made to strike references to the MSC 2 Zone throughout the Ordinance. Similarly, if the Council desires to prohibit marijuana sales in additional Zones, a motion could be made to add a particular Zone throughout the Ordinance.

The City Council previously determined that existing zoning regulations would control and marijuana businesses would be restricted to locations where retailing, processing and production are allowed by the Zoning Code. However, a recently issued opinion from the State Attorney General’s Office concludes that Initiative 502 does not prevent local jurisdictions from adopting special regulations for recreational marijuana businesses or even outright prohibiting marijuana businesses. The proposed interim Ordinance is consistent with the Attorney General’s guidance.