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Council votes against revising pot ordinance

The Port Orchard City Council voted 5-0 against a proposal that would have added home-based child-care centers, nursery schools and preschools in the 1,000-foot buffer zone that would protect them from recreational marijuana businesses.

The council took action July 8 on the proposal after a public hearing in which two people addressed the council.

The proposed ordinance would not have allowed marijuana businesses to operate within 1,000 feet of child-care centers, family day care providers, nursery schools or preschools.

City code restricts recreational marijuana businesses from operating within a 1,000 feet of a child-care center, but does not apply to family day-care providers.

Last month, Terri Squires, a home day-care provider, urged the council to implement the 1,000-foot buffer zone and provide protection as it does to commercial day-cares.

Squires’ day-care is outside the city limits, but within 1,000 feet of the industrial park zone for marijuana producers and processors.

Squires was unable to attend the July 8 public hearing because she was out of town.

Squires stated in a email read by City Clerk Brandy Rinearson that all businesses that deal with children should have the same protection.

“Either put all children in the ordinance of 1,000-foot protection or remove the child-care centers,” she stated in the email.

Terry Vaughn told the council he is hoping to purchase property in the Port Orchard Industrial Park for a growing and processing business and that approving the proposal could hurt the city in creating some jobs.

“It would be good for Port Orchard to have a couple of growing operations,” said Vaughn. “We expect to hire between 10-15 employees and pay good wages. The exclusion in the proposal might hurt Port Orchard in getting those jobs.”

Vaughn said he intents to have an indoor operation for growing marijuana.

He said he doesn’t see how a growth operation would affect children and that he didn’t have an application site that would be affected by the proposal.

Colette Thomas, who presents a recreational marijuana retailer in the 700 block of SE Sedgwich, asked the council to consider the time and money that some individuals have invested while following state guidelines.

She said the store is close to obtaining a license and the store would not be affected by the proposal because their are no home-based child cares in the area.

City Attorney Greg Jacoby noted established retail stores would be grandfathered in if a child care center later choses to locate within the 1,000-foot buffer zone.

The proposed retail store is located close to a city-owned land zoned for a future dog park.

“It’s not subject to the 1,000-foot rule just because it’s zoned as a park,” said Jacoby.

He said once the land is used for a park it would affect any future licenses to sell in the area.

City Developer Nick Bond said the city’s current ordinance regarding production and processing of recreational marijuana states it has to be in the industrial zone and has to have a license from the state’s Liquor Control Board.

“We have adopted all the state’s requirement concerning production and processing and incorporated in our ordinance,” Bond said.

“The prevision that the city adopted addresses cultivating, processing, displaying, manufacturing, selling and storage shall be conducted out of the public’s view,” said Jacoby.

Councilman John Clauson said that marijuana processors and producers are different from retail stores.

“A growing operation has to be inside and won’t be having the traffic as a retail store,” Clauson said. “There is definitely a difference. We should be able to treat them differently.”

Two council members, Jerry Childs and Cindy Lucarelli, were absent from the meeting.

 

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