The Thurston County Commission will hold a public hearing at 3:30 p.m. Thursday on proposed amendments to the county’s interim zoning regulations that govern where state-licensed marijuana can be grown, processed and sold.
The hearing will be in Room 280 of Building One at the County Courthouse, 2000 Lakeridge Drive SW, Olympia.
According to Mike Kain, a land use planning manager for the county’s Resource Stewardship Department, the latest proposals would:
• Set a new minimum parcel size for marijuana operations in residential zones.
“The current minimum is one acre,” Kain said. “The proposed minimum is ‘greater than five acres.’”
• Increase the setback from property lines for most marijuana operations to 100 feet. It is currently 25 feet, Kain said.
“We’ve had a few complaints about odor and noise, and I think the proposed changes are an attempt to address those concerns,” said county manager Cliff Moore.
• Prohibit new marijuana operations in agriculture zones, including Long Term Agriculture, Nisqually Agriculture and Agriculture District.
Since most marijuana grow operations are indoors, the change would prohibit someone from building a structure in those districts to grow pot indoors. That way the soil could be retained for other agriculture uses, Moore said.
“They’re designated as such because they really do have very good soil,” he said of the agricultural zones.
Thurston County has been notified of 32 applications that are pending with the state that could locate pot operations in residential zoning districts. Some of the operations and developments are “of a larger scale and higher intensity than the county previously anticipated in some use classifications and zoning districts, and the larger projects have resultant impacts not previously known or planned for,” according to the interim ordinance.
The proposed changes wouldn’t affect operations that are already in place, and applications that are already vested, Moore said.
He said he hasn’t heard of any complaints yet about the proposed changes.
The Thurston County Commission first adopted interim zoning regulations in November 2013. More amendments could take place before the county’s final set of regulations is adopted. At this point, the ordinance calls for final regulations to be in place by November.
For more information, contact Kain at 360-754-3355 ext. 5471 or firstname.lastname@example.org. The proposed regulations are posted at www.thurstonplanning.org.