Rejecting citizen calls for banning marijuana sales near churches, the University Place Planning Commission on Wednesday recommended rules that would limit retail cannabis sales to commercial areas in the city’s mixed-use zones.
Those rules would go into effect only if the University Place City Council drops the city’s ban on marijuana sales in the city.
The suggested rules, passed in a 4-1 vote Wednesday night, were the result of weeks of study and public hearings. Commissioner Ken Campbell voted against the proposed rules.
The sole marijuana sales licensee in University Place, Christy Stanley, said she was encouraged by the commission’s vote.
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“I’m leaping for joy,” she said. Stanley also owns a marijuana dispensary in Kingston.
Stanley has already secured a location within the University Place mixed-use zone to house her business. That business, which she intends to call Chambers Bay Marijuana, will be at 7621 27th St. W. if the city halts its ban.
The proposed rules would ban marijuana stores within 1,000 feet of schools, playgrounds, day care centers, gaming arcades, public parks, transit centers, recreation centers and libraries. Marijuana growers and processors would be limited to the city’s light industrial zone.
The commission didn’t act on some citizen requests to add churches to the list of places near which marijuana retailers would be banned.
University Place Development Director David Swindale told the commission that adding religious institutions to the list would make the whole city off limits to marijuana stores. Two small sections of the city would be outside the 1,000-foot ban areas, but those two sites aren’t eligible for marijuana sales because of other zoning restrictions.
University Place is among several Pierce County cities, including Fife, Bonney Lake and Puyallup, that are thinking about abandoning their cannabis sales prohibitions.
University Place officials have said the city could realize tax revenues of more than $60,000 yearly from a marijuana store. The city could use the money — finances are so tight that it recently cut recreation programs to balance its budget.
John Gillie: 253-597-8663