The University Place City Council has directed its planning commission to review the city’s zoning and determine whether it makes sense to allow marijuana businesses within the city’s commercial areas.
The request doesn’t mean the council will lift its ban on marijuana operations in the city of 31,500 people, but it sets up the possibility.
City Attorney Steve Victor previously recommended the council overturn its 2-year-old ban on the sale, production and processing of marijuana in the city. Victor cited the economic benefit of the businesses, saying the additional tax revenue would help the cash-strapped city that is eliminating its recreation programming next year to help fill a projected $1 million budget gap.
The council agreed it didn’t want to make a decision before knowing where businesses could locate.
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Overturning the ban “remains a political decision,” Victor told the council at a meeting Monday. Asking the planning commission to study the issue, including state-required buffers and regulations that limit where marijuana businesses could operate would increase the council’s “knowledge of other options for zoning and land use controls,” Victor said.
Gig Harbor resident Christy Stanley was at Monday’s meeting urging the council to overturn its ban. Stanley owns Green Tiki Cannabis Co. in Kingston and is in the final stage of being granted the sole retail marijuana license allotted by the state for UP. She hopes to open near 27th Street West and Bridgeport Way West.
Stanley told the council she was available to assuage any concerns they have about her business.
Council members Caroline Belleci and Steve Worthington requested the planning commission prioritize the council’s request.
After its review, the commission will make a recommendation to the council. The council will then discuss overturning the ban at public meetings before making a decision.