Zoning proposal could restrict Seattle marijuana sales in tourist areas, historical districts

marijuana weed ganja cannabis hbtv hemp beach tvSome city council members want to shield the city’s tourist areas, historical districts and family zones from the effects of legalized marijuana.

Councilmembers Nick Licata and Sally Clark are proposing an amendment to the city’s Land Use Code, to restrict production, processing, selling and delivery of marijuana in Capitol Hill’s Harvard-Belmont area, the downtown core, and other historical districts and family zones throughout the city.

The changes could further restrict the already tight squeeze predicted for marijuana retailing locations that might not run afoul of federal guidelines.

We wrote recently about the potential for 23rd and Union to be one of the only central Seattle pot sales locations. The changes proposed in the ordinance do not appear to directly take the location off the table for recreational marijuana businesses. While the ordinance would not allow sales in small neighborhood commercial zones (NC1), 23rd and Union is zoned NC2. We have requested clarification from the city to confirm that the corner would not likely be affected.

UPDATE: Brennon Staley from DPD says the proposed ordinance would not affect 23rd and Union:

The proposed ordinance would not impact the NC2 zones outside of historic districts. This includes the commercial areas around 23rd and Union. It would limit the growth, processing, selling, and delivery of marijuana in the adjacent residential zones.

The proposals come in response to recently enacted I-502 and the necessity to develop a process for regulating marijuana and marijuana products, according to the city.

The proposal would not alter federal or State criminal law related to marijuana, and it would not place any City employee in the position of permitting or sanctioning any marijuana-related activity.

Rather, it would be an exercise of the City’s authority to protect the public health, safety, and welfare by preventing incompatible uses—in this instance, larger-scale marijuana-related activity and businesses and residences in areas where such activity could cause inappropriate off-site impacts.

The amendments would establish restrictions in:

1. Any Single-family zone

2. Any Multifamily zone

3. Any Neighborhood Commercial 1 (NC1) zone

4. Any of the following Downtown zones:

a. Pioneer Square Mixed

b. International District Mixed

c. International District Residential

d. Downtown Harborfront 1

e. Downtown Harborfront 2

f. Pike Market Mixed


5. Any of the following districts:

a. Ballard Avenue Landmark District

b. Columbia City Landmark District

c. Fort Lawton Landmark District

d. Harvard-Belmont Landmark District

e. International Special Review District

f. Pike Place Market Historical District

g. Pioneer Square Preservation District

h. Sand Point Overlay District

Additionally, the proposed legislation would add definitions related to marijuana. It would also modify provisions for community gardens and urban farms on industrially zoned property in the Duwamish and Ballard/Interbay Manufacturing and Industrial Centers to clarify existing standards and limit indoor agricultural operations to a maximum size of 10,000 square feet, excluding associated office or food processing areas.

A public hearing on the proposals is scheduled at 2 p.m. April 24 at Seattle City Hall’s City Council Chambers, Second floor, 600 Fourth Ave.

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