Pubdate: Tue, 04 Oct 2011
Source: Arlington Times (WA)
Copyright: 2011 Sound Publishing, Inc.
Author: Kirk Boxleitner


ARLINGTON -- The Arlington City Council gave itself some extra time 
to consider the issue of medical marijuana during their Oct. 3 meeting.

After a public hearing during which no one stepped up to offer any 
testimony, the Council voted unanimously to extend their moratorium 
on medical marijuana collective gardens within the city limits, from 
six months to a full year, dating from Aug. 15 of this year.

David Kuhl, community development director for the city of Arlington, 
presented the proposed ordinance to the Council on Oct. 3, the last 
regular Council meeting date available within the state law-mandated 
60-day window for holding a public hearing, after the initial moratorium.

"In the last month, city of Arlington officials have met with the 
community development and police departments of Lake Stevens and 
Marysville," Kuhl said. "We've been working together on our code 
language to prevent this issue from pitting our cities against each 
other. The fact that they were looking at extending their six-month 
moratoriums to a full year prompted us to consider it as well."

The ordinance is intended to allow the three cities time enough not 
only to review their options on regulating medical marijuana 
operations, but also to establish regulations that would be 
consistent between the three jurisdictions, thereby ensuring a 
consistency in their approach.

"We're looking at requirements to ensure that 1,000 feet exists 
between two collective gardens, or between a collective garden and 
any youth-oriented facility," Kuhl said. "We're also looking into 
building codes for ventilation requirements for such gardens, as well 
as their taxation."

Although the Council often waits until their next regular meetings 
after public hearings on ordinances to vote on them, City Attorney 
Steve Peiffle recommended that the Council vote on the ordinance that 
same night, "unless you have particular concerns about it."

Council members Linda Byrnes and Sally Lien were the only two who 
offered opinions that evening, with Byrnes echoing the desire to 
ensure consistency of enforcement on this matter between the 
jurisdictions of Arlington and its neighboring cities, while Lien 
agreed that it would take a while to sort through the laws on this subject.

Between now and the end of the year, city officials plan to consult 
land-use studies, American Planning Association reports, background 
from the Municipal Research and Services Center of Washington, taxes, 
existing operations, legal issues, health and safety concerns, 
building code issues and business license approaches. From January 
through March of next year, they expect to develop codes for 
Arlington alongside officials from Lake Stevens and Marysville, in 
time for the draft revisions of those codes to be ready by April of 2012.

May of 2012 is set to include work sessions of the Arlington City 
Council and Planning Commission on these codes, as well as 
advertisements for the public hearings to be scheduled for June 5 
before the Planning Commission and July 2 before the City Council. 
The subsequent ordinance should be published between July 10-15, in 
time for it to become effective on Aug. 15, 2012.
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