Council approves public hearing on permanent pot zoning

A pot shop may soon open in the core of Aberdeen.

The Aberdeen City Council Wednesday evening unanimously approved a recommendation by city staff and the Planning Commission to hold a public hearing on whether to expand zoning of retail pot sales into select commercial areas of the city when it decides where to permit pot operations permanently.

The City Council will have the final say on zoning matters and is expected to decide next month.

Currently, the city has interim zoning in place that would permit the production, processing and retail sale of marijuana only in light industrial and industrial areas.

The recommendation asks that retail sales also be allowed in both the general commercial and downtown commercial zones. The state’s plan for commercial marijuana sales allows Aberdeen one retail outlet. So the outlet could be located in one of four zones, rather than just two.

The commission also recommended production and processing facilities still be confined to light industrial and industrial areas of the city. The ban on medical cannabis collective gardens would remain in place.

A public hearing with sworn testimony on the options is set for March 12, said Community Development Director Lisa Scott.

An ordinance will be presented at the meeting on March 26.

The interim zoning was approved Oct. 23 in anticipation of state-licensed marijuana facilities opening around the state.

The Planning Commission, chaired by Brian Little, held a public meeting last month at the Rotary Log Pavilion where the public weighed in.

Most citizens who filled out ballots about the zoning at the meeting supported the recommendations made by the Planning Commission to the council.

Several council members, led by Tim Alstrom, made a point Wednesday of thanking Planning Commission members for the hours they contribute to the city. The majority of the council rejected the commission’s last request for a change to zoning, when they nixed approval of a developer’s bid to allow multi-family dwellings atop Think of Me Hill.


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