Pubdate: Sat, 07 Mar 2015
Source: Fairbanks Daily News-Miner (AK)
Copyright: 2015 Fairbanks Publishing Company, Inc.
Author: Amanda Bohman


FAIRBANKS - The Fairbanks North Star Borough mayor released a 
tentative map Friday of where marijuana retail sales might be 
allowed, including around Fairbanks International Airport, Van Horn 
Road, near the Alaska Railroad Corp depot, on a short stretch of 
College Road and along a portion of South Cushman Street.

Marijuana retail sales also might be allowed on either side of the 
Johansen Expressway between Peger Road and University Avenue and on 
the north side of Phillips Field Road near Illinois Street. The 
industrial area beside the Aurora Subdivision also could have pot shops.

What these areas have in common is they are zoned commercial or 
industrial and are not too close to federal drug-free zones, such as 
schools, playgrounds, public housing, youth centers, public pools and arcades.

Borough Mayor Luke Hopkins said he wants to keep marijuana businesses 
away from drug-free zones where the businesses might attract scrutiny 
from the federal government, which outlaws pot with harsher penalties 
in drug-free zones.

"What we don't want to do is set businesses up for those double 
fines," Hopkins said at a meeting Friday of his marijuana policy 
advisory council.

The mayor, along with one of the borough's lawyers and some Community 
Planning Department staff, led the meeting, involving a roundtable 
discussion with leaders in the business, law enforcement, health and 
education sectors.

A member from the Coalition for Responsible Cannabis Legislation also attended.

The discussion centered on how to keep businesses selling weed away 
from places that cater to children and families.

The group talked about adding child care centers and substance abuse 
rehabilitation facilities to the list of places that would need a buffer zone.

If a marijuana store opened across from a child care center, 
Assemblywoman Diane Hutchison said, "You are going to have a lot of 
people saying, 'How on earth did the borough let this happen?'"

Borough planner Kellen Spillman said there are hundreds of licensed 
day care centers in the borough.

"This is screening out significant land area with day care," 
Community Planning Department Director Christine Nelson said.

Buffering day care facilities would essentially push marijuana retail 
sales out of the central business district in Fairbanks, Nelson added.

"There are liquor stores right across from day care centers right 
now," said Michael Bork, the director of parks and recreation for the borough.

Liquor stores have few restrictions, essentially a 200-foot buffer 
from schools, Community Planning Department staff members said.

The group also discussed general use zoning, where Nelson said 
"pretty much anything goes."

The mayor is suggesting that marijuana businesses in general use 
zoning be judged on a case-by-case basis with an application, 
notifications to neighbors and a public hearing.

The Johansen Expressway shopping district is zoned general use. The 
Chena Pump Road area is also zoned general use along with Badger Road 
and most of the outskirts of Fairbanks.

Marijuana retail sales would be prohibited in areas zoned residential 
under Hopkins' tentative proposal.

"We are not looking at allowing it in any residential zones," Nelson said.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom