FOLLOWUP: Burien City Council gives unanimous OK to Marijuana regulations

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Excerpt of the Agenda Bill for Resolution 586. Click image to download full PDF.

by Ralph Nichols

Burien City Council members gave unanimous approval Monday night (Aug. 19) to interim zoning regulations for six months on the location, operation and licensing of marijuana producers, processors and retailers.

The recreational use and marketing of marijuana was made legal in Washington by Initiative 502, which was approved by voters statewide last November.

The proposal – Resolution 586 – to adopt interim regulations (download PDF here) was added to the agenda with council consent at the start of Monday’s meeting.

Burien’s interim regulations will remain in effect until the State Liquor Control Board, which is authorized by I-502 to regulate the new marijuana market, adopts and implements those rules.

The target date for the Liquor Control Board action is Dec. 1. After state rules are in place, the interim city regulations will be amended as required to comply with the board’s mandate.


Community Development Director Chip Davis

“Burien’s Municipal Code is presently silent regarding recreational marijuana facilities,” Community Development Director Chip Davis told council members before their vote.

At this time, he continued, they had three potential options: do nothing and rely on existing zoning laws for locating marijuana businesses, adopt a moratorium to allow time for further study, or adopt the interim regulations.

Staff recommended the interim regulations. While they are in effect, permanent rules for the location of marijuana facilities will be studied.

“The reaction to this may be overblown,” suggested Councilman Gerald Robison. “We’re not going to have unregulated marijuana use in Burien.”

Addressing the council’s options, Robison said doing nothing “doesn’t work at all,” adding there is a need for regulation to accommodate non-conforming uses. And “a moratorium is lazy legislatively.”

With marijuana now legal in Washington, local interim regulations to control where and how it is used are appropriate, said City Councilman Jack Block Jr.

They will be allowed to operate in “a pretty small footprint in the city,” Davis noted.

Burien’s temporary rules require that state-licensed marijuana producers and processors locate only in I-Industrial and AI-Airport Industrial zones, following a Type 1 administrative review. They are not allowed to operate as an accessory to a primary use or as a home occupation.

State-licensed retailers must comply with all requirements of state law and Liquor Control Board regulations. They may locate only in CN-Neighborhood Commercial, CI-Intersection Commercial, CR-Regional Commercial, CC-Community Commercial, DC-Downtown Commercial, and SPA-1 Old Burien and SPA-3 Gateway zones, also following a Type 1 administrative review.

They are prohibited from locating in RS-Residential Single Family, RM-Multi-Family, PR-Professional Residential, O-Office, and SPA-2 Ruth Dykeman Children’s Center zones.

Licensed marijuana retailers may not locate within 1,000 feet of any elementary or secondary school, playground, recreation center or facility, child care center, public park, public transit center, library, or game arcade not restricted to patrons 21 and older. This limits Burien to allowing three small areas (map below):

  • 1st Ave South & SW 136th
  • South of SW 148th/151st & Ambaum (near where the Odyssey headship has been located for around 30 years)
  • Near the old liquor store in Five Corners on SW 160th & 1st Ave South

All licensed marijuana producers, processors and retailers must have all required business licenses and comply with city tax regulations and all applicable city laws.

Here’s a video of the resolution being presented, courtesy Pat LeMoine:

View Burien Marijuana Zones in a larger map

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10 Responses to “FOLLOWUP: Burien City Council gives unanimous OK to Marijuana regulations”
  1. TcB says:

    No need in trying to kill the goose that laid the golden egg. I see cash money coming from this! Anyone care to dispute me?

  2. Tricia Falcon says:

    …. as the feds patiently wait for more idiotic city councils to adopt ” marijuana regulations” that expose them to prosecution .

  3. Marie says:

    Thank you for the follow-up. I actually don’t have a problem with a little restriction on locations. In White Center there is an overwhelming number of dispensaries. In my opinion it’s overkill. They also close almost as quick as they open. This might help these small businesses stay around longer if there isn’t one on every corner.

  4. Burienite says:

    Good that they’re being proactive on this, however I am not 100% on board with it. Until the state law and the federal response is reconciled, I think it maybe should wait. But this legislation is probably the right thing to do.

    Regarding legalization, I agree that the criminalization of smoking pot is pretty ridiculous, however I will never support “pot culture.” Take a look at all the images of Hempfest to see what I’m talking about. I don’t see anything except a whole slew of non-contributing pot heads who live, eat, breath (literally) and sleep the pot culture. All of them give the periodic recreational and medicinal use a bad name.

    • TcB says:

      That will temper with legality. Plus, there are plenty of bar going regulars who eat and sleep booze. Plenty of prescription drug regulars… etc.

      Also cultures related to Music, Art, Movies, Food. You name it.

      It’s a free country.

  5. Burienite says:

    Hmm, had a comment on here earlier, and now it’s gone. What gives?

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