August 13, 2013

By Staff

Downtown condos are no place for dispensary

According to the city of Issaquah ordinance regulating medical marijuana, a dispensary cannot reside within 500 feet of a preschool or within 1,000 feet of a community center.

While the definition of a preschool seems pretty clear, there is room for argument regarding what exactly constitutes a community center. It has become a point to be argued as a medical marijuana dispensary attempts to locate at 175 First Place Northwest.

If you only consider the Issaquah Community Center, then there is no doubt that the location at the Issaquah Court Condominiums is far enough away. But the applicant failed to consider the Issaquah Library or Issaquah Senior Center, both of which are within 1,000 feet. In fact, both are only about 500 feet away.

The city needs to get the community center designation clear — and now. There will be future applications for dispensaries, and both landlords and business tenants should not have to wonder whether their application will be approved.

The language in the ordinance would appear to lead to a denial of a dispensary at the Issaquah Court Condominiums. But more definitive language is needed.

There is another concern that the city should address. Marijuana is rather pungent. Any commercial or mixed-use building that shares a ventilation system with a marijuana dispensary means all tenants will have to live with the odor of marijuana, even if it’s still in its package. Building codes should address this concern.

If the dispensary at the condominium units on First Place is allowed to go forward, there will be more issues to deal with. We would assume that the owner of The Peaceful Choice would want to be a peaceful neighbor. That will never be the case in a primarily residential-use condominium.

This one should be nipped in the bud.



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