Assembly Extends Moratorium on Marijuana Business

logo-w-sunburstKayla Desroches/KMXT

Commercial cultivation, testing, and retail sale of marijuana in the borough are all issues currently before the Planning and Zoning Commission. Last week, in order to figure out that local legislation, the Kodiak Island Borough Assembly extended the sunset date on a moratorium it put on marijuana business in Kodiak.

Members of the assembly expressed frustration about having to extend that deadline, including Assemblyman Scott Smiley, who said the Planning and Zoning process should move faster.

“I’m a little worried that we’re not moving ahead on this, and it seems that we’re waiting for Planning and Zoning. We’ve waited on Planning and Zoning for some other things as well, and I think we need to look into speeding that process up in some way, shape, or form, so that we can get on with these kinds of issues and get done with them more quickly.”

Borough Manager Michael Powers explained that all zoning issues, marijuana related or not, need to go through the Planning and Zoning Commission.

“The law basically says it requires consideration by P and Z, but it doesn’t really talk about what happens if P and Z takes – a planning and zoning commission, not just ours, any of them – were to take a year on an item, and there’s no case law on it because Alaska, being such a young state, has not addressed and not litigated a lot of items.”

Scott Arndt, Planning and Zoning chair, said he thinks the process will take a “reasonable” length of time.

“The regulations that you’re proposing on square footage on lots doesn’t meet the minimum lot standards to begin with. We had a public hearing. We had four or five people testify all against it in the residential areas. We hadn’t had long to look at it with the conflicting information there, so the intent is to take it to a work session.”

The assembly reluctantly granted the moratorium extension to allow the Planning and Zoning Commission to do that. The vote was 5 – 2 with Assemblywoman Rebecca Skinner and Assemblyman Dave Townsend against.  The sunset date is now April 30, extended from the original deadline of February 28.

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