Bonney Lake puts marijuana on Planning Commission docket

Recreational marijuana is back on Bonney Lake’s schedule.

Recreational marijuana is back on Bonney Lake’s schedule.

After a 4-3 vote during the Oct. 25 City Council meeting, the Planning Commission’s 2016-2018 work plan will be amended to include a review and reconsideration of the city’s current marijuana ban.

Council members Katrina Minton-Davis, Justin Evans, Jim Rackley and Randy McKibbon supported putting the reconsideration on the Planning Commission’s docket.

Council members Don Lewis, Tom Watson and Dan Swatman voted against the review.

The council’s vote to add work to the Planning Commission went against Mayor Neil Johnson’s recommendation, which was listed on Agenda Bill 16-129.

“Do not add to planning commission work plan now. This is currently a legal and political issue, not a land use matter,” the agenda bill reads. “The Mayor recommends referring this issue to the Community Development Committee so up to date information regarding the impacts of marijuana on youth and other impacts to Bonney Lake can be evaluated.”

Johnson’s recommendation went on to read that if the Community Development Committee recommended repealing the ban, then the matter can be referred back to the Planning Commission.

WHAT’S NEXT?

Even though the council put the issue on the Planning Commission’s work plan, there’s no date when the issue is going to be taken up.

“The work plan is revisited in January/February of every year,” wrote city Human Resources Manager Jenna Richardson in an email interview. “At that time (in early 2017) this item will be added to the work plan, where it will be placed. As far as when it will be considered has yet to be determined.”

Back in Sept. 2014, months before the city voted to ban marijuana from the city, the Planning Commission presented the city council with three different options the city could consider when it came to marijuana in Bonney Lake.

The first option was a ban on all marijuana growers, processors and retail stores.

The second option was to establish zoning regulations so retail stores can be located in Eastown and Midtown, and still ban all growers and processors.

The third option was to adopt no city-specific zoning regulations and follow state law in regards to where marijuana growers, processors and retailers could open.

The council directed the Planning Commission to prepare ordinances for the first two options, the full ban and only allowing retail stores in Eastown and Midtown.

Public hearings were held on both ordinances, and the council eventually adopted the full ban ordinance in Jan. 2015.

If the council is gearing up to repeal the marijuana ban, there will have to be another public hearing on a new ordinance, Richardson said, even if the council decided to recycle one of the options allowing marijuana businesses in the city word for word.

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