The Bethel City Council will be looking at a proposed ordinance that will amend the Bethel Municipal Code to prohibit the operation of marijuana establishments in the City of Bethel.
The proposal states that a local government may prohibit the operation of marijuana cultivation facilities, marijuana product manufacturing facilities, marijuana testing facilities, or retail marijuana stores through the enactment of an ordinance or by voter initiative.
Ordinance 22-11 is being introduced by Council Member Beth Hessler at the April 12th, 2022 regular council meeting. The proposed ordinance amends BMC 5.10 to prohibit all marijuana operations in the City of Bethel including marijuana cultivation facilities, marijuana product manufacturing facilities, marijuana testing facilities, or retail marijuana stores. The item is currently on the consent agenda. Public hearing will be held on April 26th.
Council also has on its agenda Resolution 22-04 which protests the issuance of a retail marijuana license to Good Vibes LLC that is proposing to operate at 323 Chief Eddie Hoffman Highway.
The resolution, if adopted will have the Bethel City Council conditionally protest the issuance of the marijuana retail license to Good Vibes LLC due to the negative impacts on the surrounding neighborhood and the safety of the ingress to and egress from the property.
The resolution states that although marijuana sales are permitted within the General Use Zone through conditional use permitting standards applied by the City’s planning and zoning laws, Bethel Municipal Code 5.10.040 provides that the City Council, when considering protests of marijuana licenses, may consider the character and public interest of the surrounding neighborhood.
“Next door to the property is the Bethel Lions Club, across the street from the property is the Yupiit Piciryarait Cultural Center, which hosts concerts, conferences, trainings, and cultural events, the Bethel Fire Department, the Bethel City Hall, and the Nora Guinn Court House is just down the street,” says Res. 22-04. “The proposed use and location of the property degrades the image of the adjacent and nearby facilities and does not promote an image for the community that is consistent with the public interest, given its conspicuous location … the Council wants to convey a respectable image within our city center and marijuana sales alongside civic and government services is inconsistent with that goal.
“The proposed location is adjacent to a property that is applying for a restaurant eating place license, and therefore raises the same concerns regarding Fire Department response times … the driveway to the property is across the street from the Fire Department, and given that proximity, there are concerns that impaired patrons exiting the property by vehicle present significant risk to the Fire Department’s response to emergencies … it is in the public interest and safety to separate the sales locations of marijuana and beer/wine in order to prevent or minimize risk of dual consumption of these substances prior to driving.”
The applicant will have an opportunity to defend their application.
Council will also be considering proposed Resolution 22-05 that protests the issuance of a restaurant eating place license to Uncommon Pizza which proposes to operate at 401 Chief Eddie Hoffman Highway. The same protest reasons are listed for this application as for Good Vibes. This resolution is also sponsored by Council Member Hessler.
“The dual effects of consuming both marijuana and alcohol may not be immediately recognized by the businesses making the sales of these substances, potentially permitting a patron leave the premises while significantly impaired,” says the proposed resolution.
The applicant will have the opportunity to defend their application. Resolution 22-04 and 05 are not on the consent agenda for the April 12th meeting.