Airway Heights Planning Commission discusses marijuana standards for city
The Airway Heights Planning Commission met July 16 to hold public hearings for ordinances relating to Initiative 502 standards and for temporary use permits within the city.
Development Services director Derrick Braaten explained that the city’s I-502 standards for recreational cannabis closely mirror the city of Spokane, except that retail cannabis stores within Airway Heights’ city limits cannot have a storefront on Highway 2.
“They can only locate in a secondary lot or at a 90-degree angle,” Braaten said.
Under the ordinance, retail facilities can be located in general commercial (C-2) zones outside of the 1,000-foot buffer zone, but not in light commercial (C-1). These locations include areas along Highway 2, specifically along Lyons and Hayden streets and Hazelwood Road.
Retail, process and production facilities would be permitted in light (I-1) and heavy industrial (I-2) zones. Recreational marijuana facilities have to apply for a marijuana license through the state.
Braaten said under the interim ordinance, the city received four applications for process facilities — two of which already have permits and the other two are in the permit process.
In regards to medical cannabis, Braaten said the city would have their own regulations.
Braaten said facilities that grow, process or sell medical marijuana must obtain a business license and a special dispensary permit through the city. He added there are no current applications in for medical cannabis facilities for Airway Heights.
Under the ordinance, medical cannabis facilities cannot be located within 1,000 feet of recreational marijuana facilities.
Braaten said that all strains of recreational marijuana are tracked but medical cannabis strains are not.
“We’ve had people ask ‘can we do both?’” Braaten said. “You can, just not within the same building.
Planning Commission chair Rita Osborne asked if marijuana facilities could be located on tribal lands within the city.
Braaten explained that recreational facilities could be located on tribal land, but because cannabis is illegal under federal law and because the tribe operates under federal law and not city law, it could negatively affect the federal funding they receive.
Braaten said signage for retail marijuana facilities cannot display visual representations of pot leaves or drug paraphernalia.
Braaten said recreational facilities have to get their license through the state and pay the city’s sales tax.
After the public hearing on the I-502 standards, the Planning Commission discussed the city allowing vendors to use a temporary use permit to operate firework stands instead of having them apply for a conditional use permit.
Braaten explained that conditional use permit process could take up to six months and cost up to an excess of $700 in preparation fees/charges. This can be an inconvenience for vendors wanting to open a fireworks stand within city limits. Braaten proposed fireworks stands be allowed to apply for temporary use permits, which only cost $30 and vendors must submit it 45 days in advance.
Seasonal stands, such as produce stands, Christmas tree lots and pumpkin patches also require a temporary use permit.
Osborne asked if residents holding yard sales would have to apply for temporary use permits. Braaten explained that yard sales do not require permits as long as the event is less than three days.
The next Airway Heights Planning Comission meeting is scheduled for Aug. 13, 6 p.m. in the City Council chambers.
Al Stover can be reached at email@example.com.