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Cheney park might get I-502 applicant

City receives conditional use permit application for grower/processor in Commerce and Industrial Park


Cheney may soon have its first tenant for the city’s Commerce and Industrial Park – but it’s not who the city was expecting to see.

In a staff report to the Cheney Planning Commission Monday night, Public Works Director Todd Ableman informed the commission the city has received a conditional use application from Cheney Hydroponics, a business seeking to receive a marijuana processing license from the state and build a facility in the business park located in south Cheney. The City Council passed an interim zoning ordinance at its Nov. 12 meeting, and amended at its meeting last week, that allows such businesses along with marijuana retailers to set up in the Business Park and Light Industrial zones via the conditional use permit application process.

Ableman told the commission it was his understanding that Cheney Hydroponics has not officially applied for a license from the state, but is seeking to acquire a location first before undergoing that application process. Cheney Hydroponics is not listed as a business having applied to be a grower/processor via the state’s Liquor Control Board website, although a company called Pure Joy Family Farm is listed as a Tier 2 level applicant with an address of 250 Fred Johns Way.

Fred Johns Way is the main entrance into the business park.

There are also two other applications listing Cheney addresses for marijuana processor licenses. Triple T Farms, at 10210 S. Spotted Road, has applied for a Tier 3 producer license while Bang’s Cannabis at 12917 S. Short Road has applied for a Tier 2 license.

According to the Liquor Control Board, a producer license allows the applicant to produce marijuana for wholesale to marijuana processor licensees and to other marijuana producer licensees. Tier 2 producers are allowed 2,001 to 10,000 square feet of canopy space, while Tier 3 producers are allowed 10,000 square feet and above.

Language in voter-approved Initiative 502, which legalized marijuana for recreational use, established a 1,000-foot buffer between marijuana retail, processing and production locations and sensitive use facilities such as schools and designated public facilities such as parks, churches and daycare centers. Plotting these locations on a Cheney map and using the 1,000 foot distance requirement produced very few locations within the city that marijuana distributors can locate, mainly commercial and industrial zones in the south portion of the city beyond Presley Street, along with a small commercial area in the north.

The state’s website also lists three applicants with Medical Lake-area addresses and one with an Airway Heights address. Ableman said there are still a lot of hurdles any potential marijuana applicant must go through, including a lottery for licenses as the state has too many applications for growers and processors.

“Nothing is guaranteed for right now,” Ableman said after the meeting.

Ableman also told the commission that it appears ownership of the Cheney School District’s former high school and administration building would be reverting back to the school district. Local developer Steve Emtman had entered into a $950,000 contract to purchase the 84-year-old building contingent upon studies deemed “necessary or desirable to determine if the Property will be suitable for Buyer’s intended use.”

Ableman said Emtman’s studies have determined that his proposed ideas for the buildings use are not feasible due to a number of factors such as cost.

Finally in official business the commission wrapped up its review process of the city’s zoning codes. The revisions to Chapter 21 of the municipal code now go to the state Department of Ecology and the federal Department of Commerce for review and comment, with a citizen’s comment period remaining open for 30 days before the document heads to the City Council for approval sometime in January 2014.

John McCallum can be reached at


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