Zoners tackle pot rules, truck wash tonight

KINGMAN - This evening the Kingman Planning and Zoning Commission is set to revisit a pair of items it tabled at last month's meeting, and will also take yet another stab at revising the city's sign code.

Commissioners will first revisit the city's stance on where to allow the cultivation and distribution of medical marijuana. The item was tabled at the commission's Jan. 11 meeting after it became clear commissioners wouldn't be comfortable suggesting any new regulations until they had a chance to confer with the city attorney and the police chief over the new law, which voters approved by a thin margin in last year's November election.

City Attorney Carl Cooper is expected to be in attendance tonight, though it's not clear how much expertise he'll be able to offer, given that the state has until March 28 to finalize its own set of rules for cultivation and dispensary facilities. The most recent draft of the state's rules was published Jan. 31, with a subsequent public comment session running through Feb. 18. That draft alone expanded the rules for medical marijuana from 47 to 58 pages, with more stipulations likely to follow from the new round of public comments - the first drew more than 1,300, many of which were incorporated into the newest draft.

Questions also remain over exactly what the city can and cannot regulate - while the proposed zoning ordinance imposes restrictions on where cultivators and dispensaries can be located, it also mandates size limitations on dispensaries, something Deputy County Attorney Bob Taylor has said goes beyond what the city or county are allowed to do. In a Jan. 26 meeting of the county Planning and Zoning Commission, Taylor said that, according to his interpretation of the new law, only the Arizona Department of Health Services could have any say over how large a dispensary building could be.

According to the agenda packet, however, the commission is still pursuing its initial amendment, which would allow cultivation only in rural residential zones and dispensaries only in I-2: manufacturing industrial zones. The amendment also calls for dispensaries to be confined to a building no larger than 100 square feet, with hours of operation from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

The amendment also calls for minimum distances between cultivation and dispensary facilities. Cultivators must be at least 2,500 feet from any other city or county residential zoning district, as well as from other cultivation facilities, schools, churches, public parks, mental health facilities or substance abuse centers. Dispensaries must similarly be at least 500 feet from another dispensary or residential zone and at least 2,500 feet from schools, churches, parks, and the other above-mentioned uses.

According to the agenda packet, new questions have also been raised over whether wording in the city's commercial zoning ordinances may also inadvertently allow marijuana cultivation or dispensing facilities. The C-1 district allows "health care or therapeutic services" while C-2 allows plant nurseries and C-3 allows greenhouses. Commissioners may opt to include language that explicitly singles out marijuana cultivation and distribution as a prohibited use for those types of businesses.

Commissioners will also revisit a conditional use permit request from Blue Beacon International, which is seeking to relocate a truck wash from Blake Ranch Road off Interstate 40 to the current location of the First Value Inn at 3270 Andy Devine Ave. The commission had tabled the item last month to give applicant Dana Morse time to conduct a traffic impact analysis for the site, which sits just south of a Flying J Travel Center and north of I-40 and a neighboring McDonald's restaurant.

McDonald's had expressed the biggest opposition to issuing the permit, with representative Dennis Watts claiming that the trucks would invade the restaurant's parking lot looking for a nonexistent shortcut into the truck wash, which could cause a traffic nightmare in that area.

With the traffic study now complete, city staff is recommending that commissioners allow the permit with specific conditions, including allowing only right-turn in, right-turn out access to the truck wash, obtaining a written agreement to share access with the neighboring Flying J, and constructing a landscaping and fencing buffer between the truck wash and the McDonald's at least six feet high.

Finally, commissioners will revisit the city's temporary sign ordinance, which was last amended in December 2009 after many months of back-and-forth discussions with businesses and the city. The last amendment allowed ongoing on-premises signs, including A-frames, to be displayed year round in the C-1, C-2, C-3, I-1 and I-2 zoning districts. It is not clear what, if any, changes commissioners may discuss making to the ordinance tonight, though they may discuss what repercussions the 2009 amendment has had since it was first approved.

Tonight's meeting begins at 6 in the Council Chambers at 310 N. Fourth St. For full agenda details, visit www.cityofkingman.gov and click "Agendas, Minutes and Video."