It’s taken some time, but the city of Soldotna is moving closer to putting new regulations in place for the cannabis industry.
The city's planning and zoning commission held its first work session on the matter last week. City planner John Czarnezki says in the coming months, they’ll be looking at what’s worked and what hasn’t in other places around the state in developing new rules here.
“We just try to soak it all up as far as what the other communities are doing and how they’re doing it and then try to make some recommendations to the planning and zoning commission and we’ll see if everybody’s on the same page or not. (In) most cases, there’s usually a little twist to it, where they like some things and not others. So, we’ll make changes and take that next step.”
The next step is deciding how industry-friendly the new rules will be. The city administration asked for some extra time to dive into making new policy. That extra time is up in February. Czarnezki says the first work session was pretty narrow in its scope, dealing mostly with zoning issues.
“We just used this first meeting as more of an educational type to learn about the different marijuana establishments, review our zoning code and what the zoning districts currently allow. The next meeting, they will have a more formal work session and they’ll review actual code language and make proposals to amend the code and allow those different uses in different places.”
The number and kind of businesses allowed will likely be the main point of debate for the council in the weeks ahead. Some council members have been vocal in their opposition and already said they don’t want testing or production facilities in town. It took a tie-breaking vote by former mayor Peter Sprague in September to allow the city’s moratorium on the industry to expire at the end of the year.
The next work session will be held December 6th at city hall, following the regular meeting of the planning and zoning commission.