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Pot bylaw moves forward

Kelowna City Council has given first reading to a bylaw which would allow Medicinal Marijuana Production Facilities (MMPF) to be located on select agricultural properties.

Council unanimously supported first reading of the bylaw creating the A1m Zone. It will now go to public hearing for public scrutiny.

The addition of an A1m Zone would allow council, on a case by case basic, to approve applications for MMPFs on agricultural lands.

Council has already given final approval to amendments allowing for production facilities on I1, I2, I3 and I4 zoned industrial properties.

Land use director, Shelley Gambacort, says the proposed A1m designation would allow for a 10 per cent site coverage for Medical Marijuana Production Facilities on agricultural lands.

The bylaw would also recommend buildings be no more than 60 metres from the front property line to the back of the production building.

"They are supposed to be sited so as to minimize the impacts on arable land. We want people to consider using the least productive land available," said Gambacort.

She said revisions were also being made to the greenhouses and plant nurseries' definitions to clarify that this use does not include MMPF's.

The A1 Zone currently allows for 75 per cent site coverage for both greenhouses and plant nurseries.

"Without the specific reference in this definition it could be interpreted that the MMPF could be considered as a greenhouse and cover 75 per cent of the site which is not something we are recommending."

Each application will also include what Gambacort called a draft checklist, to assist staff in the evaluation of any of the A1m requests the City might receive.

"The checklist is a tool to help us evaluate the projects before bringing a report to council. It's just an evaluation," says Gambacort.

"You don't have to have all of them yes or you don't get recommended. It's just to help focus some of the discussions we have with the applicants as well."

In regards to the 10 per cent site coverage, Councillor Andre Blanleil inquired about the possibility an applicant could request a variance for greater site coverage.

"I do like the 10 per cent simply because if gives staff and council the opportunity to sit down with the applicant and maybe get a better layout," said Blanleil.

"Having the ability to have a variance does give staff the ability to sit down with the applicant and have a fresh look at it. I wouldn't want to change the 10 per cent as long as they have the ability to come for a variance if staff would recommend the changes whatever they would be."

The public hearing is expected to take place in late June or early July.

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