Hearing on marijuana facility Tuesday

Cheney Planning Commission to also hold public hearing on code updates at Monday night meeting


The city of Cheney will hold two public hearings next week, one that will determine how residential and commercial development looks in coming years and another that will be the first of its kind.

The latter is a hearing by the hearing examiner on Tuesday, Jan. 14, on a conditional use application for building a marijuana production and processing facility in the city’s Commerce and Industrial Park. The applicant, Cheney Hydroponics, is proposing construction of a 6,650 square foot structure of which 5,250 square feet would be utilized for production of marijuana, which was legalized for recreational use by voter initiative in 2012.

According to the application, the facility would be built on a minimum of two lots at the corner of Fred Johns Way and Willow Street, with the final size “determined by the quantity of product acceptable by the WSLCB” (Washington State Liquor Control Board). The board is currently reviewing applications from producers, processors and retailers to determine the amount of product to be grown and sold.

Initiative language stipulates jurisdictions in the state provide locations for marijuana growing and retail facilities per specific zoning requirements, one of which was facilities could not be located within 1,000 feet of sensitive use services such as schools, churches, parks and daycare centers. These requirements led Cheney planning officials to the conclusion that the only possible locations for marijuana facilities within the city were in the industrial zones in the southern portion of town and a small section in northeast Cheney.

The concrete and metal warehouse facility will be 70 feet wide by 75 feet deep and 12 feet high, ventilated by two exhaust fans to provide cooling and airflow but filtered to prevent noxious fumes from being emitted. There will also be an attached 70 foot wide, 20 foot deep, nine foot high wood-frame administration, storage and processing area which, along with 3,800 square feet of parking would provide a total construction area of 10,455 square feet.

The facility will utilize a recycling hydroponics system, limiting waste to typical garbage collection. Security will be provided by illumination of all exterior walls, parking areas and pathways as well as security cameras. The lighting will also highlight building aesthetics, a picnic area, sculpted gardens and pathways, which include a Japanese-style footbridge spanning the stormwater trench along Fred Johns Way.

Pending all approvals, the applicant hopes to begin construction sometime this February, with completion, except some landscaping features, by April. A staff report on the project was not available at press time, but would be ready Wednesday, Jan. 8, Cheney senior planner Brett Lucas said.

The hearing on the conditional use permit begins at 2 p.m. at Cheney’s City Hall council chambers.

The other public hearing takes place at the regular meeting of the Planning Commission the night before, Jan. 13, and centers on receiving public comment on aspects of the recently completed updating process of the city’s residential, commercial and public zoning codes. The meeting begins at 5:30 p.m., also at City Hall council chambers.

The commission and the Community Development Department have been conducting a review of the city’s Chapter 21 zoning regulations for almost two years, speeding up the process in early summer 2013. The review involved a number of updates, such as combining chapters to create better clarity and eliminate redundancy as well as create simplicity and flexibility for developers and residents.

Some of the new codes include new minimum and maximum net densities for newly created lots in the R-3 and R-3H (High Density) zones and removal of building setbacks in the C-1, downtown commercial zone as well as extending maximum building heights in C-1 and Mixed Use (MX).

John McCallum can be reached at


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