North Bend City Council approves Marijuana Retail Store Developer Agreement

On Tuesday, December 1st, the North Bend City Council approved a Developer Agreement to allow a Marijuana Retail Store at 43514 SE North Bend Way. 

Under the City’s zoning regulations, marijuana retail was not permitted at the location. Still, it could be considered by the City Council subject to a Development Agreement, reviewed according to the process in North Bend Municipal Code Chapter 18.27.  

While marijuana retail is already a permitted use within areas of the City’s Interchange Commercial Zone near exit 31, applicants to-date have not been able to find a location in that area where property owners would allow the use, most likely due to use restrictions on the federally-backed loans on those properties.

The City Council and the Planning Commission held separate public hearings on the topic and received extensive comments from residents both in favor and against allowing the store.

After the November 17th Public Hearing, Councilmembers requested an annual $25,000 public safety mitigation payment be included in the developer agreement; clarification on the distance of public parks and churches from the proposed location; and how many North Bend residents voted to legalize marijuana.

It was re-affirmed that no public parks were located within the proposed store location’s legally required buffer area. Although there is a church in the vicinity, churches are not listed as a sensitive use that requires buffering from retail marijuana stores. King County Election records showed that 60% of North Bend voters cast ballots to legalize marijuana in 2012.

Senior Planner Mike McCarty said the proposed location is consistent with state law. He explained the intent of the developer agreement is for the store to look nice and blend in.  All licensing decisions pertaining to the store are made by the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board.

The applicant, Wayne Seminoff, previously anticipated the project – that includes remodeling and converting an existing single-family home on the property into the retail store – could take 1 to 2 years to complete.  When operational, the store is estimated to generate approximately $100,000 in annual city sales tax revenue.

In 2019 a different applicant pursued locating a marijuana store in the Mountain Valley Shopping Center near I-90 exit 31, also through a proposed development agreement, but private covenants, conditions, and restrictions applicable to the Mountain Valley Shopping Center prevented its location in that commercial retail building.

Councilmembers thanked the public for participating in the process, saying they received valuable input from the community on both sides of the issue.

The City Council approved the developer agreement by a vote of 5-1. Councilmember Rosen was absent.

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