Spokane County
1116 W. Broadway Ave
Spokane, WA 99260
Contact Us
Skip Navigation Links
Print this page 
Email this page to a friend 

County Commissioners Approve Changes to Interim Zoning Ordinance for Recreational Marijuana

May 05, 2014 Building and Planning
(509) 477-3675

The Spokane County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved revisions to the Interim Zoning Ordinance for the production and processing of recreational marijuana in unincorporated Spokane County. The changes that were made address the minimum acreage for parcels, depending on the size of the growing/processing operation, and also the minimum setbacks from property lines and primary residences on adjacent properties.

The County Commissioners will schedule another public hearing within 60 days to take testimony on the revised Interim Zoning Ordinance below. For more information, contact the Spokane County Building and Planning Department at (509) 477-3675.

Spokane County government is dedicated to enhancing and protecting the quality of life for all citizens through the pursuit of excellence in responsive, cost-effective and customer-driven services.


BEFORE THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS
OF SPOKANE COUNTY, WASHINGTON

IN THE MATTER OF ADOPTING AN INTERIM ZONING ORDINANCE WITH REGARD TO PRODUCTION AND PROCESSING OF RECREATIONAL MARIJUANA IN UNINCORPORATED SPOKANE COUNTY AND REPEALING RESOLUTION NO. 14-0290 ))))))

R E S O L U T I O N


WHEREAS, pursuant to the provisions of RCW 36.32.210(6), the Board of County Commissioners of Spokane County, Washington (sometimes hereinafter referred to as the “Board” or “Board of County Commissioners”), has the care of County property and the management of county funds and business; and

WHEREAS, pursuant to the provisions of chapters 36.70 and 36.70A RCW, the Board has adopted a Comprehensive Plan for the unincorporated areas of Spokane County; and

WHEREAS, pursuant to the provisions of chapters 36.70 and 36.70A, the Board has adopted a Spokane County Zoning Code for the unincorporated areas of Spokane County; and

WHEREAS, pursuant to the provisions of Article XI § 11 of the Washington State Constitution, any county may make and enforce within its limits all such local police, sanitary and other regulations as are not in conflict with general laws; and

WHEREAS, in AGO 2014 No. 2, the Washington State Attorney General opined that local jurisdictions retained the jurisdiction to impose additional regulatory requirements for I-502 licensees so long as they were a valid exercise of Article XI § 11 and the regulation promotes public safety, health, or welfare and bears a reasonable and substantial relation to accomplishing the purpose pursued; and

WHEREAS, RCW 36.70.795 provides that:

“A board that adopts a moratorium, interim zoning map, interim zoning ordinance, or interim official control without holding a public hearing on the proposed moratorium, interim zoning map, interim zoning ordinance, or interim official control, shall hold a public hearing on the moratorium, interim zoning map, interim zoning ordinance, or interim official control within at least sixty days of its adoption, whether or not the board received a recommendation on the matter from the commission or department. If the board does not adopt findings of fact justifying its action before this hearing, then the board shall do so immediately after this public hearing. A moratorium, interim zoning map, interim zoning ordinance, or interim official control adopted under this section may be effective for not longer than six months, but may be effective for up to one year if a work plan is developed for related studies providing such a longer period. A moratorium, interim zoning map, interim zoning ordinance, or interim official control may be renewed for one or more six-month periods if a subsequent public hearing is held and findings of fact are made prior to each renewal.”
; and

WHEREAS, RCW 36.70A.390 provides that:

“A county or city governing body that adopts a moratorium, interim zoning map, interim zoning ordinance, or interim official control, shall hold a public hearing on the adopted moratorium, interim zoning map, interim zoning ordinance, or interim official control within at least sixty days of its adoption, whether or not the governing body received a recommendation on the matter from the planning commission or department. If the governing body does not adopt findings of fact justifying its action before this hearing, then the governing body shall do so immediately after this public hearing. A moratorium, interim zoning map, interim zoning ordinance, or interim official control adopted under this section may be effective for not longer than six months, but may be effective for up to one year if a work plan is developed for related studies providing for such a longer period. A moratorium, interim zoning map, interim zoning ordinance, or interim official control may be renewed for one or more six-month periods if a subsequent public hearing is held and findings of fact are made prior to each renewal.”
; and

WHEREAS, moratoriums and interim zoning ordinances enacted under RCW 36.70.795 or RCW 36.70A.390 are methods by which local governments may preserve the status quo so that new plans and regulations will not be rendered moot by intervening development; and

WHEREAS, RCW 36.70.795 and RCW 36.70A.390 authorize the enactment of a moratorium, interim zoning map, interim zoning ordinance or interim official control without holding a public hearing; and

WHEREAS WAC 197-11-880 provides:

“Actions that must be undertaken immediately or within a time too short to allow full compliance with this chapter, to avoid an imminent threat to public health or safety, to prevent an imminent danger to public or private property, to prevent an imminent threat of serious environmental degradation, shall be exempt. Agencies may specify these emergency actions in their procedures.”
; and

WHEREAS, Initiative 502 was enacted in November of 2012 and implementation of this Initiative establishes a regulatory system to license producers, processors, and retailers of recreational marijuana; and

WHEREAS, the Washington State Liquor Control Board has adopted a comprehensive set of regulations for the licensing of producers, processors, and retailers in Chapter 314-55 WAC; and

WHEREAS, Chapter 314-55 WAC became effective on November 16, 2013 and the Washington State Liquor Control Board began accepting applications for all license types on November 18, 2013; and

WHEREAS, in addition to the licensing requirements promulgated under Chapter 314-55 WAC, cities, towns and counties may adopt zoning requirements, business licenses, and health and safety requirements pertaining to production, processing, and dispensing/sale of cannabis and cannabis products under RCW 69.51A.140. Specifically RCW 69.51A.140 provides in part:

“RCW 69.51A.140 Counties, cities, towns—Authority to adopt and enforce requirements
….

(2) Counties may adopt and enforce any of the following pertaining to the production, processing, or dispensing of cannabis or cannabis products within their jurisdiction in locations outside of corporate limits of any city or town: Zoning requirements, business licensing requirements, and health and safety requirements. Nothing in chapter 181, Laws of 2011 is intended to limit the authority of counties to impose zoning requirements or other conditions upon licensed dispensers, so long as such requirements do not preclude the possibility of siting licensed dispensers within the jurisdiction, If the jurisdiction has no commercial zones, the jurisdiction is not required to adopt zoning to accommodate licensed dispensers.”
; and

WHEREAS, in a review of the Spokane County Zoning Code it was clear that the production, processing and sale of recreational marijuana was not a listed use identified in the various use matrices. As provided for in Section 14.604.300(2), any use not specifically mentioned shall be administratively classified by comparison with other uses listed in the matrices; and

WHEREAS, pursuant to Section 14.604.300(2), on October 29, 2013, the Spokane County Department of Building and Planning issued a formal policy that administratively classified production, processing and sale of recreational marijuana (Policy No. 2013-0001); and

WHEREAS, under Department of Building and Planning Policy No. 2013-0001, marijuana production is a permitted use in the Resource Lands Matrix (Table 616-1) of the Spokane County Zoning Code in the Large Tract Agricultural, Small Tract Agricultural and Forest Lands zone under the term “General agricultural grazing/crops, not elsewhere classified”; and

WHEREAS, under Department of Building and Planning Policy No. 2013-0001, marijuana production is a permitted use in the Rural Zones Matrix (Table 618-1) of the Spokane County Zoning Code in the Rural-5, Rural Traditional, Urban Reserve and Rural Conservation zones under the term “General agricultural grazing/crops, not elsewhere classified” and is a permitted use in the Mineral Lands Matrix (Table 620-1) under the term “General agricultural grazing/crops, not elsewhere classified”; and

WHEREAS, under Department of Building and Planning Policy No. 2013-0001, marijuana processing and retail sales is a permitted use in the Commercial Zones Matrix (Table 612-1) of the Spokane County Zoning Code in the Regional Commercial zone under the term “General retail sales and services, not elsewhere classified” and is a permitted use in the Industrial Zones Matrix (Table 614-1) of the Spokane County Zoning Code in the Light Industrial zone under the term “General retail sales and services, not elsewhere classified”; and

WHEREAS, the Spokane County Zoning Code, in the Industrial Zones Matrix (Table 614-1) lists “Agriculture” as a permitted use in the Light Industrial zone and it could have been interpreted that agricultural uses in the Light Industrial zone could allow production of recreational marijuana in the Light Industrial zone subject to the licensing requirements of the Washington State Liquor Control Board indoors or outdoors; and

WHEREAS, Department of Building and Planning Policy No. 2013-0001 did not address marijuana production in the Light Industrial zone and if not specifically addressed, production of marijuana in the Light Industrial zone could have resulted in consumption of areas zoned Light Industrial in Section 14.614.100 of the Spokane County Zoning Code for agricultural uses inconsistent with the purpose and intent of the Light Industrial zone and Spokane County Comprehensive Plan; and

WHEREAS, on January 7, 2014, the Board adopted an Interim Zoning Ordinance establishing criteria for production of recreational marijuana in the Light Industrial Zone (Res. No. 14-0029); and

WHEREAS, the Interim Zoning Ordinance adopted in Res. No. 14-0029 specified that production of recreational marijuana is permitted in the Light Industrial Zone only in an indoor facility consistent with the licensing requirements of the Washington State Liquor Control Board for an indoor production facility; and

WHEREAS, subsequent to issuance of Department of Building and Planning Policy No. 2013-0001 and the adoption of the Interim Zoning Ordinance under Res. No. 14-0029, the Department received numerous comments and correspondence that Policy No. 2013-0001 did not adequately address processing of recreational marijuana and that denial of licenses for processing of recreational marijuana is not consistent with the intent of Initiative 502 and that Spokane County has the ability to adopt and enforce requirements for processing of recreational marijuana under RCW 69.51A.140; and

WHEREAS, Department of Building and Planning Policy No. 2013-0001 did not provide sufficient information for those seeking licenses to produce, process, and sell recreational marijuana given the current definition of marijuana production and marijuana processes under RCW 69.50.101 and as such additional regulations were needed to differentiate between marijuana processing that is limited to packaging and labeling of usable marijuana and processing that includes use of equipment, solvents, gases and other mediums to create marijuana extracts, kief, hashish, bubble hash, infused butter, oils and fats or other products; and

WHEREAS, on March 11, 2014, the Board adopted an Interim Zoning Ordinance (Res. No. 14-0213) for production, processing, and retail sale of recreational marijuana in unincorporated Spokane County; and

WHEREAS, the Interim Zoning Ordinance adopted in Res. No. 14-0213 specified where marijuana production is a permitted use in various use matrices of the Spokane County Zoning Code, where marijuana processing and retail sale is a permitted use in various use matrices of the Spokane County Zoning Code, and that marijuana processing (limited to packaging and labeling of useable marijuana) is permitted in various use matrices of the Spokane County Zoning Code with all production, processing, and retails sale consistent with the licensing requirements of the Washington State Liquor Control Board; and

WHEREAS, subsequent to adoption of Planning Policy No. 2013-0001, Res. No. 14-0029, and Res. No. 14-0213, the Department of Building and Planning received comments that said actions did not consider the impacts of marijuana production and processing in rural zoning designations on adjacent properties with regard to odors, location of production and processing structures in proximity to single family residences, property values, and potential increase in crime due to inadequate setbacks from production and processing facilities to single family residences; and

WHEREAS, on April 7, 2014, the Board adopted an Interim Zoning Ordinance (Res. No. 14-0290) for production and processing of recreational marijuana in unincorporated Spokane County. The Interim Ordinance includes standards for marijuana production and processing in the identified zoning designations that specify that an indoor or outdoor production or processing facility, temporary growing structures, greenhouse, or structure must be located a minimum of 100 feet from any front property line and 300 feet from any side, flanking or rear property line and that the parcel, lot or tract be a minimum of eight (8) in size; and

WHEREAS, pursuant to RCW 36.70A.390 the Board, on May 5, 2014, held a public hearing to consider public testimony for and against affirmation of the Interim Zoning Ordinance adopted on April 7, 2014 in Res. No. 14-0290; and

WHEREAS, subsequent to adoption of the Interim Zoning Ordinance in Res. No. 14-0290, the Department of Building and Planning and the Board received numerous written comments and oral testimony at the public hearing on May 5, 2014, that said Interim Zoning Ordinance did not fully consider the impacts of marijuana production and processing in rural zoning designations on adjacent properties with regarding to odors, location of production and processing facilities in proximity to adjacent single family residences, property values, potential increase in crime. Abdi that the setbacks specified in said resolution were excessive, greater than other permitted land uses in the rural zoning designations, and had the effect of rendering many parcels incapable of meeting the standards of the Interim Zoning Ordinance; and

WHEREAS, if the County were to begin public consideration of an amendment to the Zoning Code to address the issues set forth in the immediately preceding recital without first adopting an interim zoning ordinance, those involved in the process of land use and development could frustrate effective land use planning by submitting applications for licenses and building permits to produce and process marijuana in rural land use designations which would be inconsistent with Spokane County Department of Building and Planning Interim Zoning Ordinance adopted in Res. No. 14-0290 and the applicable Goals and Policies of the Spokane County Comprehensive Plan; and

WHEREAS, if the Board were to advertise its intent to impose new regulations concerning production and processing of marijuana in rural zones with regard to odors, location of production and processing structures in proximity to single family residences, property values, and potential increase in crime due to inadequate setbacks from production and processing facilities to single family residences, the number of applications for licenses and building permits to produce and process marijuana in rural zones that would occur prior to adoption of amendments to the Spokane County Zoning Code could undermine the Board’s ability to regulate such activity; and

WHEREAS, if an Interim Zoning Ordinance control is not invoked, the filing of building permit applications or licenses to produce and process marijuana in rural zones with regard to odors, location of production and processing structures in proximity to single family residences, property values, and potential increase in crime due to inadequate setbacks from production and processing facilities to single family residences, during the time necessary to adopt an amendment to the Spokane County Zoning Code is likely to impact effective long-range planning and result in the status quo not being preserved during consideration of amendments to the Spokane County Zoning Code for Spokane County; and

WHEREAS, it is in the best interest of the public health, safety and welfare to adopt an Interim Zoning Ordinance, as authorized under RCW 36.70.795 and RCW 36.70A.390, applicable to the production and processing of marijuana in rural zones with regard to location of production and processing structures in proximity to single family residences; and

WHEREAS, this measure is necessary to preserve the County’s ability to effectuate long-range planning decisions in a comprehensive manner, and to implement I-502; and

WHEREAS, county staff estimates the completion of an amendment to the Spokane County Zoning Code could take between six (6) months and one (1) year; and

WHEREAS, pursuant to WAC 197-11-880, the adoption of this resolution is exempt from the requirements of a threshold determination under the State Environmental Policy Act.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Board of County Commissioners of Spokane County, Washington, pursuant to the provisions of Article XI, § 11 of the Washington State Constitution, AGO 2014 No. 2., RCW 69.51A.140, RCW 36.32.120(6), RCW 36.70.795, RCW 36.70A.390, RCW 36.70A.130 and WAC 197-11-880, that the Board declares an emergency and in so doing does hereby:

(1) repeals the Interim Zoning Ordinance adopted in Res. No. 14-0290, and

(2) adopts an Interim Zoning Ordinance which would allow for production and processing of recreational marijuana in unincorporated Spokane County consistent with the licensing requirements of the Washington State Liquor Control Board, Planning Policy No. 2013-001, Res. No. 14-0029, Res. No. 14-0213 as follows:

(a) Marijuana production is a permitted use in the Resource Lands Matrix (Table 616-1) in the Large Tract Agricultural, Small Tract Agricultural and Forest Lands Zones; in the Rural Zones Matrix (Table 618-1) in the Rural-5, Rural Traditional, Urban Reserve, and Rural Conservation Zones.

(b) Marijuana processing (limited to packaging and labeling of useable marijuana) is a permitted use in the Resource Lands Matrix (Table 616-1) in the Large Tract Agricultural Zone, Small Tract Agricultural and Forest Land Zones; in the Rural Zones Matrix (Table 618-1) in the Rural-5, Rural Traditional, Urban Reserve, and Rural Conservation Zones and in the Mineral Lands Matrix (Table 620-1) in the Mineral Lands Zone.

(c) Marijuana production and processing in the above listed zoning designations, in an indoor or outdoor production or processing facility or structure must be located a minimum of 100 feet from any front property line, except that the 100 foot setback shall not apply to structures existing on the property at the time of adoption of this interim ordinance; 50 feet from any side, flanking, or rear property line; and 300 feet from any primary residence on an adjacent property. The distance from any primary residence on an adjacent property and/or from the side, flanking, or rear property line can be reduced by up to fifty percent (50%) if the adjacent property owner signs a waiver. Provided, however, that at no time shall the parcel, lot, or tract for a Tier 1 permit be less than three (3) acres, and for Tier 2 and/or Tier 3 permits be less than five (5) acres in size. The terminology “temporary growing structure” means a structure that has the sides and roof covered with polyethylene, polyvinyl, or similar flexible synthetic material and is used to provide plants with either frost protection or increased heat retention.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Board of County Commissioners adopts each and every recital herein above to support the above action and additionally the Board does:

1) Direct the staff of the Spokane County Division of Building and Planning together with the Spokane County Planning Commission to expeditiously initiate an amendment to the Spokane County Zoning Code with respect to setbacks for the production and processing of recreational marijuana in rural, resource, and mineral lands in unincorporated Spokane County.

2) Direct the Spokane County Division of Building and Planning to schedule and give proper notice of any hearings and meetings held under (1) above consistent with applicable regulations.

3) Determine to hold a public hearing on the Interim Zoning Ordinance within sixty (60) days of the adoption of this resolution.

4) Acknowledge that the Interim Zoning Ordinance adopted herein may be effective for not more than six (6) months but may be effective for up to one (1) year if a work plan is developed for a longer period. and

5) Acknowledge that an Interim Zoning Ordinance may be renewed for one or more six (6) month period if subsequent public hearing is held and findings of fact are made prior to each renewal.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the adoption of the Interim Zoning Ordinance is exempt from the requirements of the threshold determination under the State Environmental Policy Act pursuant to WAC 197-11-880.

PASSED, ADOPTED, AND EFFECTIVE AS OF 7:39 P.M. on the 6th day of May 2014.

                                                       -# # #-

 

 

Back
to
Top