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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Friday, April 14, 2017
Contact:
Jeremy Davis, Senior Planner-Resource Stewardship Department, (360) 754-3355 ext. 7010 or davisj@co.thurston.wa.us

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

OLYMPIA - The Thurston Board of County Commissioners will hold a public hearing on Tuesday, April 25, at 5:30 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, April 25, 2017
Time: 5:30 p.m., or soon thereafter
Where: County Courthouse, Building One, Room 280 at 2000 Lakeridge Drive SW in Olympia, 98502

County commissioners are holding a public hearing and taking comment on a proposal to extend the interim marijuana zoning regulations, currently set to expire on May 8, 2017. County staff recommended 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 are consistent with state laws.

The proposal does not include changes to the current zoning districts for marijuana producers, processors, or retailers. The interim regulations amendments propose adding a cap of ten maximum of the number of medical marijuana cooperatives permitted in unincorporated Thurston County.

You can view more detailed information about the proposal to extend the interim regulations and the full text of the proposed ordinance on the Thurston Planning website.

Background:
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 interim ordinance will renew the provisions of Ordinance No. 14944, as amended by Ordinance No. 14978, Ordinance No. 15210, and most recently Ordinance No. 15371 (November 8, 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, most zones that permit industrial uses permit processing, and most commercial zones permit retailing.

The Board of Commissioner invite the public to participate in an informed discussion and provide testimony at the hearing on April 25. The public may submit written comments in lieu of testimony at the hearing.

Written comments can be emailed to Jeremy Davis, Senior Planner, at davisj@co.thurston.wa.us, hand delivered, or mailed to:
Thurston County Resource Stewardship Department
Land Use and Permitting, ATTN: Jeremy Davis
2000 Lakeridge Drive SW
Olympia, WA 98502

The deadline for written comments is 5 p.m. on Tuesday, April 25, 2017. County commissioners may choose to approve the Interim Ordinance at the end of the April 25, public hearing, or they may request that staff make changes to the proposal following the public hearing and adopt at a subsequent County Commissioners meeting.

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County Commissioners:

Carolina Mejia
District 1

Gary Edwards
District 2

Tye Menser
District 3