With a second spring looming, Weeds Glass & Gifts is getting another chance to grow in Grand Forks, after city council voted unanimously voted last week direct staff to proceed with the requirement for public notice regarding a permit that would allow an approved cannabis store to operate within 36 metres of James Donaldson Park.
As the city’s zoning bylaw stands now, retail cannabis stores cannot operate within 100 metres of a Community Use Zone, such as the park.
This is the second time that council has been presented with a decision to allow a pot shop to operate at 7500 Donaldson Dr. Weeds presented its case last spring as well, but was shut down by council in July. Weeds then filed a legal petition against the city, arguing that the rejection was not justified. That suit has been put on hold while the company and city restart the process.
Last year, councillors mulled the same development variance permit and the permit for a retail cannabis store approval in the same package, meaning that there was a public hearing on the latter that could have influenced council’s decision. This time around, after seeking legal advice, the city has separated the two decisions.
Though Coun. Zak Eburne-Stoodley and others said they wanted to hear the public’s opinion before granting a variance to the city’s 100-metre rule for pot shops, they were advised by staff that holding a public feedback session would put them into potential trouble.
“For fairness principles, we have to follow the legislated requirements,” said city planner Delores Sheets, “unless council has a policy stating that you will go above and beyond. If you do, you have to go above and beyond for everybody, not just for one application.”
Residents and land owners within 30 metres of 7500 Donaldson Dr. will now receive notification of development variance permit and be able to submit feedback to the city.
As of Feb. 4, 2020, Grand Forks had three permitted and operational cannabis retail stores within city limits.