Whitehorse rezoning to allow new cannabis retail store to open for viewing
Residents can let the city know their thoughts on the proposed rezoning of Marble Slab’s former location on Second Avenue to allow for a cannabis retail store.
On July 25, Whitehorse City Council passed the first reading of the bylaw to rezone 2220 Second Ave. for restricted commercial operations within 100 meters of a school. The change would allow the Community Cannabis store to open.
Community cannabis owners Jordan Stackhouse and Daniel Schneider are asking for the zoning change following confusion over the measured distance between the proposed store and the individual learning center in Whitehorse.
As the pair explained in a previous board presentation, before signing the lease for the retail space, they researched the necessary buffers and felt their location met the requirements. After signing the lease, they were told it was within 150 yards of a school – the Whitehorse Individual Learning Center on Fourth Avenue – based on the measurement method that goes from lot line to lot line, rather than the distance between individual establishments.
Under territorial law, cannabis outlets must be located more than 150 meters from high schools, unless a municipality decides to change this requirement in their community. So, potential retailers are asking for the rezoning to allow the store to open within 100 yards of the high school, the same distance the city requires cannabis stores to be temporary shelter services; services for at-risk youth or drug addicts; lots zoned as parks and recreation that have a play structure; and other lots zoned for restricted retail.
Although council was unanimous in passing first reading, which brings the zoning change to the public hearing stage, council. Michelle Friesen voted earlier in the meeting against passing the regulations to first reading.
The vote came after she raised questions about its proximity to Shipyards Park, which has a playground structure and is also said to be less than 100 yards from the store.
As explained by Mike Gau, Director of City Development Services, Shipyards Park falls under waterfront zoning and therefore the bylaw does not apply to either Shipyards Park or Rotary Park, which have the same zoning. and are also found along the downtown waterfront.
Friesen and Coun. Kirk Cameron also confirmed with city staff that the rezoning would only apply to the Second Avenue property, although it was noted that the city may consider a broader change when the zoning bylaw does. subject to comprehensive review.
In an interview after the meeting, Friesen explained her reasons for voting in favor of the first reading after voting against the initial adoption of the bylaw.
She said that while she still had questions about the proximity of the playground to Shipyards Park, which prompted her to initially vote against passing the bylaw, she is also open to hearing from the community on the proposed rezoning.
“I just have a bit of learning to do,” she said, adding that she would consider it in more detail and listen to any input provided before making a decision on how she will vote in the two latest readings of the regulations.
The public hearing will take place on September 12.
Questioned by the con. Ted Laking on the public hearing process, Gau noted that the period for residents to provide input begins after the first reading, with the city accepting email and written submissions which can be sent to [email protected] whitehorse.ca or 2121 Second Ave., Whitehorse, Yukon, Y1A 1C2.
Residents can also address council directly at the public hearing at the September 12 council meeting, which will close the time period for residents to make submissions.
A report on the hearing will be presented to council on October 3, followed by second and third readings on October 10.