Shoreline City Council Meeting September 23, 2013

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Devon Vose Rickabaugh
Photo by Jerry Pickard

Shoreline City Council Meeting September 23, 2013
Report by Devon Vose Rickabaugh

Councilmember Winstead led the Council meeting since Mayor McGlashan and Councilmember McConnell were absent on City business. Deputy Mayor Eggen has been absent on personal business.

Food Drive
Councilmember Winstead presented a proclamation for Mayor’s Day of Concern for the Hungry: “The Emergency Feeding Program of Seattle and King County coordinates an annual food drive to help support the efforts of their program and the area’s food banks in fighting hunger. This will be held at grocery stores throughout King County on Saturday, September 28, 2013. This proclamation urges all citizens to donate to local food banks and the Emergency Feeding Program”.  Head of the Emergency Feeding Program for Seattle and King County Brian Anderson said every day 250,000 residents of King County live in “food insecure homes”, 22% of them are children.  In Shoreline Safeway and QFC in Richmond Beach will be collecting donations as will Thriftway in Ballinger Village and PCC in Edmonds. Greenwood Food Bank and Shoreline’s emergency feeding program will benefit from this food drive.

Police Facility
Replacing the outdated and substandard police facility at 185th  has become a council goal. Aided by availability of seizure funds, City staff conducted a feasibility study of alternatives for an improved police station including (1) a new police facility on the current 185th site, (2) a new facility on a new site, and (3) the moving the police onto the City Hall campus. At this time, staff is continuing to pursue the third alternative of moving police into City Hall. This would be the least expensive of all the alternatives, nearly $4.5 million less than the other two.

The third alternative also creates a city use for the third floor of City Hall, which was the long-term goal of building an extra floor; while the plan was to rent the space in the short-term, no tenant has been located in four years. Moving police into City Hall also provides a mechanism and funding for the acquisition of the Grease Monkey site, which completes the City Hall campus land assemblage begun many years ago.

The staff report says the current separate police and administrative facilities create a physical separation into two staff teams and promote a lack of familiarity with personnel and staff functions. Simply by moving police to City Hall interaction and familiarity will be improved, and formal communication will be enhanced. Consolidation makes the City Hall campus the recognized heart of city services, and it will have similar benefits to those affirmed by Council in its decision to acquire Seattle Public Utilities: Shoreline residents will be better served by ‘one city, one team.’ Shoreline residents will also have the ability to do all of their City business at a single location.

The Council agreed they wanted more time to study the alternatives. Councilmember  Winstead  said she could see safety benefits to having police and City Hall under one roof. Councilmember Roberts  said he was not comfortable with any alternative. He said “The aesthetics of a metal fence along 175th is not an image we want to show.”

Medical marijuana
The Council began discussion of the potential conflict  between Shoreline’s current regulation of its medical marijuana dispensaries (collective gardens) and the forthcoming State Liquor Control Board’s (LCB)  regulations of the retail sale of recreational marijuana legalized by passage of Initiative 502.

The Liquor Control Board is tasked with creating a tightly controlled, regulated and taxed recreational marijuana market much like liquor distribution and sale. The proposed rules address public safety and location requirements. The LCB will inspect licensed marijuana businesses to enforce their operational rules and will begin accepting applications for all three licenses (production, distribution and sale) on November 18, 2013. It expects to begin issuing licenses in early 2014, and estimates that retail stores will be able to begin selling recreational marijuana in summer 2014. Current projections authorize two retail stores in Shoreline, based on the total production allowed in King County and by our population.

The policy issue the Council is considering is how to accommodate the new retail operations, and what, if any, actions the City may want to consider to address the existing Collective Gardens  (CG) that operate in Shoreline. Staff also reviewed the potential impact to public safety and police enforcement, taxation and business licenses, and code enforcement.

Though the rules for Initiative 502 do not require separation between recreational marijuana businesses, does the City want to retain the same 1000 feet separation used for collective gardens from each other? With that separation the potential for additional business would be very limited. Without the separation between businesses the potential for business increases since business could locate near each other. It is anticipated that current CGs may apply for recreation licenses given the uncertain future of the current CG regulations and lack of a safe harbor from federal prosecution.

The state legislature will consider amendments to the medical cannabis statues during the 2014 legislative session. The Council seemed in agreement to wait for the legislature to act rather than attempting to prohibit collective gardens in anticipation of new rules. Councilmember Salomon said he “wasn’t comfortable putting collective gardens out of business. Why get ahead of ourselves.?” Several council members were concerned with denying people access to medical marijuana, but also concerned with how to open up the limited areas available in the city  to the incoming retail business.

The revised timeline for statewide implementation involves an additional hearing by the Liquor Control Board on October 9th, followed by the finalization of new rules that will go into effect by November 16, 2013. The state estimates retail establishments to begin retail sales by June 2014.


Anonymous,  September 26, 2013 at 10:07 AM  

Do we really want our police operating out of a location that doesn't have emergency backup power?

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