Jefferson County commissioners reject amendments on 2019 planning docket

Prohibition of marijuana grows in rural residential zones among items set aside

PORT TOWNSEND — Jefferson County commissioners voted 2-1 to reject placing the prohibition of marijuana growth in rural residential zones on the 2019 comprehensive planning docket.

The amendment will possibly be revisited during discussions for the later dockets in 2020, said Patty Charnas, director of community development.

Along with the marijuana amendment, the three other amendments that have been discussed up to that meeting was a call to rescind the Forest Transition Overlay (which was not recommended by the planning commission), new regulations on accessory dwelling units and one on addressing affordable housing within the Housing Element’s Action Plan, according to the planning commission’s final recommendations document.

Marijuana growth zoning has been controversial with multiple community members urging that the current ordinance changed, primarily from the citizens of Marrowstone Island against a facility proposed in their area.

Marrowstone Island residents fought against a proposed 10,000-square-foot cannabis facility, pooling funds to $50,000 to be able to challenge the court in 2017, according to Nordland resident John Comstock.

The vote chose to not move forward with any of the four proposed amendments for the 2019 comprehensive planning docket.

The amendments would have strained staff and community resources, director of community development Patty Charnas said.

“Budgeting and staffing for the department are focused on existing obligations,” Charnas said.

“We would have to substantially shift work program priorities if we were to work on those this year.

“So [the commissioners] took that under advisement not withstanding the strong desire by many citizens of the county and their elected leaders to look at the rules regulations associated with both marijuana growth and processing, and that is part of our conditional use permitting process.”

The vote took place at the June 17 meeting, where multiple community members shared their opinions regarding the different amendments.

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Reporter Zachary Jablonski can be reached at [email protected].

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