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Office of the City Manager

Weekly Report – July 17, 2020

Normandy Park City Manager

City Manager Mark Hoppen

July 17, 2020

Marijuana Retail. At the last Council Meeting (July 14, 2020), I stated that it would be easy to gather a written statement from the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board pertaining to Council member Bishoff’s assertion – based on his communication with the WSLCB – that no adjustment to the City of Normandy Park Parks Recreation and Open Space Plan playground character of Nist Park is necessary to reduce the 1000’ buffer to marijuana retail.

City Attorney, Kari Sand, asked the following to the WSLCB (July 16, 2020):

“I have a question about the 1,000-foot buffer for marijuana retail businesses as to playgrounds. WAC 314-55-010 defines a “playground” in subsection (31), as follows:

(31) “Playground” means a public outdoor recreation area for children, usually equipped with swings, slides, and other playground equipment, owned and/or managed by a city, county, state, federal government, or metropolitan park district.

Based on the above definition, which is modified by the descriptive phrase “usually equipped with swings, slides, and other playground equipment,” could a marijuana retail business application be denied by a local jurisdiction if no playground equipment is currently in the public outdoor recreation area for children but is planned to be there in the near future? In other words, does a public outdoor recreation area for children qualify as a playground if no equipment is currently on the site but is planned for the near future? This is important to determine because the 1,000-foot buffer can be reduced down to 100 feet for parks, but not for public playgrounds.

Please let me know if the LCB has any decisions or other guidance on this topic.”

The written response from the WSLCB is as follows (July 16, 2020):

“An application can be denied by the LCB as well as a local jurisdiction if no playground equipment is currently present but the recreation site is considered to be a public outdoor recreation area for children. Something like this is really on a case by case basis and would need to be evaluated by the LCB to determine if it was considered to be restricted. Even if the LCB did not consider the recreation site to meet the qualifications of being a restricted entity, the local jurisdiction still might and in that case, they may not issue a business license. I would recommend submitting the location to MarijuanaLicensing@lcb.wa.gov to be vetted before the licensee invested money into the location. Please let me know if you have any further questions or feel free to respond with the address/restricted entity in question.”

Based on the written response from the LCB, it is the City Attorney’s opinion that Nist Park can be regarded as a playground, despite the current lack of playground equipment, because it is currently a public outdoor recreation area for children. The PROS Plan element of the City of Normandy Park Comprehensive Plan, a plan approved by Washington State, includes adding playground equipment and is as significant in defining the park as whether or not playground equipment is currently on site.

In light of this WSLCB communication to the City Attorney, in addition to potential WSLCB review, the City of Normandy Park will not issue any business licenses for marijuana retail within 1000’ of Nist Park, parcel to parcel, based on the defined playground use of Nist Park, as currently expressed in the Parks Recreation and Open Space Plan (PROS Plan).

Open Space Plan playground character of Nist Park is necessary to reduce the 1000’ buffer to marijuana retail.

Mark E. Hoppen, City Manager

City of Normandy Park
801 SW 174th Street
Normandy Park, WA 98166
(206) 248-8246 (Direct Phone)