White Rock council has voted to move three non-medical cannabis store applications for the town centre area forward to public hearings/meetings for further feedback.
The votes came at the Jan. 13 council meeting, following a land use and planning committee meeting that included an outline of the applications and council options.
Also moved along to the public-hearing stage is a zoning amendment that would, if approved, address the number of cannabis stores allowed in the area.
The proposed amendment would remove the current regulation that there be a 1,000-metre separation between cannabis stores – which has effectively limited the number of possible cannabis stores to one in that area.
However, it would stipulate that there cannot be more than three cannabis stores within the area bounded by North Bluff Road, George Street, Thrift Avenue and Martin Street.
The votes to go to public hearings/meetings were unanimous, except on moving forward the zoning amendment, which Coun. Christopher Trevelyan opposed.
The city has received two applications for private cannabis stores; one, at 1484 Johnston Rd., A Little Bud Cannabis Ltd. (the former King Koin laundry) and the other, at 1550 Johnston Rd. (currently occupied by Health Express) which would be part of the Choom BC chain of stores; plus a BC Liquor Distribution Branch application for a 325-square metre space in the second phase of the Miramar Village development (15177 Thrift Ave.)
Planning and development services director Carl Isaak told council that it is not obligated to approve any of the applications.
“(Council) can decide after hearing public input that you wish to move forward with none of them,” he said.
“However, if you do choose more than one, you would need to amend the zoning bylaw in order to allow for the separation issue to not be problematic for those applications.”
For the private stores, applications have been applied for to provide a temporary use permit for up to three years, the maximum allowed under current legislation.
Coun. Anthony Manning wondered about the implications of approving the zoning amendment.
“If council is to approve (the bylaw) are we committed to allowing more than one?” he asked.
“There’s absolutely no obligation or fettering of council that you would be forced to accept applications,” Isaak responded.