No pot businesses file for Eagle River

Thursday, March 31, 2016 - 09:48


Eagle River’s marijuana business restrictions are paying off – if they aimed to zone the industry out of the area entirely.

In January, the Anchorage Assembly passed a handful of zoning restrictions for marijuana businesses throughout the municipality. So far, no marijuana businesses have located suitable addresses to operate in Chugiak or Eagle River.

Municipal land use rules created setback distances between marijuana businesses and sensitive areas like schools, churches, and child-centered facilities like daycares. These distances will be measured by shortest pedestrian route through the municipality.

The final land use package put additional restrictions on Chugiak and Eagle River, submitted by Assembly member Amy Demboski put additional. Regulations require that Chugiak and Eagle River marijuana businesses maintain a distance of 1,000 feet from the above areas, but also from residential districts, dedicated parks, and the McDonald Memorial Center.

This differs from municipal rules, which only apply a 500-foot buffer to between Anchorage marijuana businesses and sensitive areas.

Demboski, the Chugiak and Eagle River district Assembly representative, had held a community council meeting with the local community council prior to Assembly meetings. She said she was responding to their concerns by making zoning more restrictive in her area than in Anchorage.

During previous meeting, Eagle River residents including Jessica Jansen, co-founder of CannaFarm Co-op, decried the rules as overly restrictive enough to effectively ban all activity from the area entirely.

When the state began accepting marijuana business licenses on Feb. 24, the fears turned out to be well founded.

None of the state’s new marijuana licenses are in Chugiak or Eagle River. Several licenses have owners with Eagle River addresses, but each lists their proposed area of operation in Anchorage where zoning restrictions are more liberal.

DJ Summers can be reached at [email protected]

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