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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Friday, November 4, 2016
Kraig Chalem, Associate Planner-Resource Stewardship Dept. at chalemk@co.thurston.wa.us or (360) 754-3355 x2087

Public Hearing to Extend Interim Marijuana Regulations
Public invited to comment on proposed extension of interim marijuana regulations

OLYMPIA - The Thurston Board of County Commissioners will hold a public hearing on Tuesday, November 8, at 3:00 p.m. to accept public testimony on extending the interim zoning regulations for state-licensed marijuana producers, processors, and retailers.

What: Public Hearing on Six-Month Extension of Interim Marijuana Regulations
When: Tuesday, November 8, 2016 at 3:00 p.m., or soon thereafter
Where: County Courthouse Building One, Room 280, 2000 Lakeridge Dr. SW, Olympia

Thurston County Commissioners are conducting a public hearing and taking comment on the proposal to extend the interim marijuana zoning regulations that are currently set to expire on November 10, 2016. County staff have recommended that the county's current interim regulations as amended be extended by six months so staff can develop and refine a proposal for permanent marijuana zoning regulations that is consistent with state laws.

For more detailed information about the proposal to extend the interim regulations, and to view the full text of the proposed ordinance, go to www.ThurstonPlanning.org and select the link for the November 8, Board of County Commissioners hearing under the "News and Links" section.

Washington State licenses marijuana producers, processors, and retailers under RCW 69.50. The state began to take applications for licenses on November 18, 2013. Thurston County did not have regulations governing such uses in its zoning regulations, and therefore passed Ordinance No. 14978 enacting interim regulations until final regulations could be considered and recommended to the Thurston County Board of County Commissioners by the Thurston County Planning Commission. State law allows for the interim regulations to be extended up to six months, and requires a public hearing be held for a proposed extension.

The interim regulations amended the Thurston County Code to add Chapter 20.63 for the rural county, Chapter 21.103 for the unincorporated Lacey Urban Growth Area, Chapter 22.65 for the Tumwater Urban Growth Area, and Chapter 23.91 for the unincorporated Olympia Urban Growth Area.

The proposed interim ordinance will renew the provisions of Ordinance No. 14944, as amended by Ordinance No. 14978, Ordinance No. 15210, and most recently Ordinance No. 15292 (May 10, 2016). The interim ordinance provides notification requirements, minimum lot sizes for producers and processors, restricts producers from locating in residential districts, and requires new buildings associated with marijuana operations over 8,000 square feet be subject to Chapter 17.09 TCC, requiring a review under the State Environmental Policy Act. In addition, processing is permitted in most zones that permit industrial uses, and retailing is permitted in most commercial zones.

The public is invited to participate in an informed discussion, and testimony will be accepted at the November 8, hearing. Written comments may be submitted in lieu of testimony at the hearing. Written comments can be emailed to Kraig Chalem, Associate Planner, at chalemk@co.thurston.wa.us, hand delivered, or mailed to:

Thurston County Resource Stewardship Department
Land Use and Permitting, ATTN: Kraig Chalem
2000 Lakeridge Drive SW
Olympia, WA 98502

The deadline for written comments is 2 p.m. on Tuesday, November 8, 2016. County commissioners may choose to approve the Interim Ordinance at the end of the November 8 public hearing, or they may request that staff make changes to the proposal following the public hearing.



County Commissioners:

Carolina Mejia
District 1

Gary Edwards
District 2

Tye Menser
District 3