Also, medical cannabis, garbage contract, Inspiration Playground
On Monday, the City Council approved an emergency interim ordinance to regulate where recreational marijuana retailers, producers and processors may operate in Bellevue.
The interim zoning ordinance, which will be effective for up to six months, limits marijuana production and processing to areas zoned for light industrial uses, and restricts the locations of retail outlets. It also requires beefed up security measures, prohibits outdoor growing and mandates that recreational marijuana operations be at least 1,000 feet away from medical cannabis collective gardens.
The vote was 5-1, with Councilmember Don Davidson voting “no” and Councilmember Kevin Wallace absent. The action responds to the passage last year of state Initiative 502, legalizing marijuana use by people over the age of 21. The state Liquor Control Board is charged with implementing I-502, and has allocated four recreational marijuana retail licenses for Bellevue.
A public hearing on the interim ordinance will be held within 60 days and the city's Planning Commission will work on permanent land use regulations for recreational marijuana uses. According to the Liquor Control Board, retail sales of marijuana are expected to begin in spring 2014.
Permanent regs approved for medical cannabis gardens
In a separate action, but one also related to the regulation of marijuana, the council approved a permanent ordinance to regulate medical cannabis collective gardens on a 5-1 vote. Councilmember Davidson voted "no" and Councilmember Wallace was absent.
Passage of the permanent ordinance came after the council passed a series of six-month, interim zoning ordinances dating back to May 2012. The new ordinance prohibits collective gardens in residential areas, allows them in some non-residential areas, requires additional security measures and establishes other rules to limit impacts of the gardens.
Agreement for garbage, recyclables collection
By a 5-0 vote the council authorized Acting City Manager Brad Miyake or his designee to execute a seven-year agreement for comprehensive garbage, recyclables and organic waste collection. The decision is a follow-up to the Sept. 9 council meeting when staff was directed to work with Republic Services to finalize terms of the contract. The current contract expires next June.
Negotiations with the city and Republic Services are ongoing and expected to conclude later this week. The proposed 2014 contract includes a total annual pricing for the first year not to exceed $19.78 million.
Additionally, the city over the past month has negotiated new services valued at $610,000 at no additional cost for city residents and businesses. The new services include an in-city customer service center, unlimited recycling for commercial customers (embedded in garbage rate), and commercial and multifamily organics collection (96 gallons weekly).
Funding approved for Inspiration Playground design
The council also took the next step toward creation of the Inspiration Playground at Downtown Park by approving up to $256,588 for architecture and design work on the project. The contract was awarded to Design Concepts.
The unique project will be an extension of the current playground at Downtown Park, but with a focus on inclusive, accessible play. Bellevue is partnering with the Bellevue Rotary Club, which committed to raise $3.5 million in construction costs. Depending on the fund-raising effort, construction of the first phase of the project could begin as early as fall 2014.
More information on each of the items above is available as part of the council agenda packet. Video of the council meeting is available at Bellevue TV, along with a video archive of past meetings.
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