Public hearing set for White Rock’s proposed medical-marijuana ban

Move to ban the grow-ops has been suggested by city staff following legal advice

The public will have a say on a recommendation to prohibit medical-marijuana operations in White Rock.

The move to ban the grow-ops has been suggested by city staff following legal advice aimed at helping B.C. municipalities prepare for new federal rules around the operations.

Council voted unanimously without comment Feb. 4 (with Couns. Louise Hutchinson, Al Campbell and Bill Lawrence absent) to give the amendment first and second reading, and direct staff to schedule a public hearing.

A report by the city’s acting director of development services notes that an amendment which had been suggested by the former director last month – to create a zone for the operations but not apply the zone to any properties – would be unenforceable.

“A zoning amendment bylaw is invalid if it provides for a zone but does not actually zone a property,” Richard Wilson writes.

Staff were asked to review the Jan. 13 recommendations for amendments to omnibus Bylaw 2000, following the dismissal of the former director.

In addition to prohibiting the grow-ops, Wilson recommends “housekeeping” amendments  regarding retaining walls and elevated concrete patios, shipping containers, coach houses and RS-3 zoning on four properties (14579-14597 Marine Dr.).

The latter – which involves returning the front-yard setbacks of the four lots to 7.5 metres – was dealt with by council at their Jan. 13 meeting. The setbacks had been reduced to a minimum of three metres when the zoning was changed to RS-1 with adoption of Bylaw 2000. The owners asked for the move to be reversed in order to retain their waterfront views.

The public hearing is scheduled for Feb. 24, prior to the evening’s council meeting.