Wednesday, December 9, 2015

More marijuana stores to be allowed in NE Seattle - Updated

Last month, Mayor Ed Murray proposed new zoning rules to loosen restrictions on where marijuana retail stores may be located in Seattle. Under the proposal, the 1,000-foot buffer around playgrounds and schools would remain in effect while buffers around other places frequented by children, such as day care centers, libraries, community centers, transit centers, and arcades, would be reduced to 500 feet, approximately 1-2 city blocks. The new rule would establish an additional 1,650 acres for retail locations. The proposal would also create a minimum distance of 500 feet between retail outlets.

What does that mean for NE Seattle?

With the proposal, the Mayor's Office released two maps: one showing the current zoning rules and possible locations for retail marijuana shops and one showing the additional areas that would be allowed under the proposed legislation. The map below shows the NE Seattle areas (in yellow) that would be appropriately zoned for marijuana stores under the proposal. 

Red Circle = 500'/1,000' buffer for existing marijuana retailers; Green Cross = 500'/1,000' buffer for existing medical marijuana retailers; Green Area = Areas where retail marijuana is not allowed under licensing restrictions; Grey Area = Areas where retail marijuana is not allowed under zoning restrictions; Yellow Area = Estimated areas where retail marijuana would be allowed.

If the proposal is adopted by the City Council, additional areas in NE Seattle that would be zoned appropriately for marijuana retailers are:
  • Along Lake City Way NE,
  • Around Northgate Mall, 
  • Around University Village, 
  • Along NE 45th Street and the beginning of Sand Point Way NE,
  • Along NE 55th Street. 
 The City Council is scheduled to vote on the proposal on Tuesday, December 15.  

UPDATE 12/16/2015: The City Council Planning, Land Use, and Sustainability Committee approved the proposal with an amendment allowing two pot shops to open next to one another. Publicola reported on the committee's debate regarding the impact of the policy on communities of color.