The Regional District of Central Kootenay has rejected a rezoning application from a North Shore couple for a proposed commercial medical marijuana operation.
The board took its lead this morning from area director Ron Mickel in denying the request to change the property’s classification from residential to agricultural.
“The potential for impact on residences was too high,” Mickel said after the meeting. “The applicant felt very strongly that there wouldn’t be, but to go from a residential zone to an agricultural zone with basically an industrial development that close to a fairly heavily populated area, I don’t think was right.”
The decision follows a public hearing last month at which many people spoke against the rezoning application, citing concerns about unwanted attention being drawn to the neighbourhood among other things. However, the couple counted the support of other neighbours.
They were previously denied a variance application.
Mickel said while today’s decision marks the end of the line for the property in question, the couple could still apply to rezone an adjacent, larger parcel of land which wouldn’t have as much impact on the residential area.
The downside is they wouldn’t be able to use or modify existing buildings.
“There are options available to them, but I don’t know if they want to go through this process again because it has been onerous on them and on staff,” Mickel said. “It was a difficult decision. I think we all would have liked to see it succeed, but there are too many unknowns.”
The couple doesn’t yet have a license from Health Canada, but was hoping to be among the first to receive one under new federal regulations.
Those guidelines will see small growers phased out in favour of large commercial operations with high security.
The regional district board recently adopted a resolution restricting medicinal marijuana grow operations to agricultural land. Existing operations are all believed to comply with that rule.