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Two marijuana business owners submit license applications for Kirkland

Two business owners submitted applications for a marijuana retail license to be located at this office building at 1818 Market Street. The building is surrounded by condos, apartments and houses. - Raechel Dawson/ Kirkland Reporter
Two business owners submitted applications for a marijuana retail license to be located at this office building at 1818 Market Street. The building is surrounded by condos, apartments and houses.
— image credit: Raechel Dawson/ Kirkland Reporter

Two applicants have filed for a marijuana retail license with the intent of putting a pot shop in the Market neighborhood of Kirkland.

Business owners of Biloxi Green LLC and McCormack Green both submitted marijuana retail license applications to the Washington State Liquor Control Board two weeks ago for the same property located at 1818 Market Street.

The current house-turned-office space is hidden and vacant but surrounded by condos, apartments and houses.

According to Kirkland city officials, no other applicants have filed for other Kirkland property. However, applicants have until Dec. 20 to submit applications to the Liquor Control Board.

Todd Spaits, co-owner of Biloxi Green LLC with Bilye Miller, said he’s very pleased with the Market neighborhood location because it’s within the zoning code requirements but also because he lives only 500 feet away.

“Our hope for the retail outlet in Kirkland is to make it an upscale establishment,” said Spaits, who’s lived in Kirkland for eight years. “We’ll be catering to the higher income level customers in Kirkland.”

Spaits also plans to apply for a marijuana retail license in Bellevue and possibly Seattle.

He said he doesn’t know much about the other applicant but expects there will be a lottery near the end of the process to figure out which business gets the spot.

If not, there are back up locations in Kirkland, Spaits said.

“… I do think there’s certainly room for two people to do a lot of business in Kirkland,” he said.

Spaits and Miller started Biloxi Green LLC about a month ago and also run a social media monitoring app called Skyfu.com.

Although Spaits professed to not using marijuana, he is confident there will be a type of “marijuana tour industry” in the future and that demand will be high -- especially in Kirkland.

Their business will also sell premium edibles as a way to cater to the “foodie type of mentality” in Kirkland, he said.

And even though the partners don’t have a lease secured, Spaits said the owner of the property is open to remodeling. Although, the homeyness could be exactly what will draw people in.

“I personally kind of like the look and feel of that location. I think it could help,” he said. “With the right touches, it could be a cute, upscale boutique.”

But one neighbor to the potential marijuana store is surprised and finds it strange the shop would be located in the Market neighborhood, a heavily residential area.

“I mean it’s weird to have that in Kirkland,” said Amin Besharat, who lives in a condo to the north of 1818 Market Street. “I’ve lived here my whole life so -- born and raised -- and I have a little girl, a baby girl, so I really wouldn’t want that around my house.”

Besharat was one of a handful of residents whose doors the Reporter knocked on to understand how the public feels about the potential marijuana store location. Several residents were not home and one woman spoke about the subject but did not want to go on the record.

“I don’t smoke weed,” Besharat said. “I have friends that do but I think it’s kind of strange for it to be in Kirkland, especially around a residential area. You go east of Market … and there’s Peter Kirk [school] right up the street, so it’s just kind of weird.”

I-502, a voter-approved initiative that legalized the recreational use of marijuana in November 2012, states licenses for marijuana operations and sales can only be issued for stores and manufacturing facilities located 1,000 feet from elementary or secondary schools, playgrounds, child care centers, public parks, public transit centers, libraries or any game arcade where minors are allowed.

In August, the city identified zoned areas that could allow for sales, production and processing of marijuana, per the rules under I-502.

“Kirkland’s zoning code does allow for retail uses in the proposed location and it appears to meet the [Liquor Control Board’s] criteria for retail outlets,” said Eric Shields, the Kirkland director of planning and community development, in a news release on Dec. 2. “The state Liquor Control Board will have final say as to whether the location is allowed under their rules.”

The current Kirkland localities zoned for marijuana sites include limited areas in the Totem Lake Business District on the west side of the I-405 and Northeast 124th Street interchange; the Rose Hill business district along Northeast 85th Street near I-405; the Market Street Corridor Business District located between Fifth Street West and 14th Avenue West, and a surrounding office zone; the southwest corner of Seventh Avenue and Sixth Street of the Central Business District; and a small portion of the Carillon Point area.

In September, the Liquor Control Board allotted two marijuana retail outlet stores for the city of Kirkland, not taking into account the annexed areas. The allocation was based on several factors, including population data from the 2010 Census.

If the Liquor Control Board approves the license and location of the applicants, operators will still need to submit an application for a Kirkland business license, which is reviewed by city officials for compliance with local regulations.

There have been no applications for marijuana producers or processors filed within the Kirkland city limits, thus far.

The Liquor Control Board will accept public comment on the proposed licenses and comments should include the trade name, license number and address of the business (available at www.liq.wa.gov/records/frequently-requested-lists) and can be sent to Washington State Liquor Control Board, Licensing and Regulation, P.O. Box 43098, Olympia, WA 98504-3098.

For more information on I-502 rules and licensing requirements, visit liq.wa.gov/marijuana/I-502.

For information about the city’s zoning regulations, visit www.kirklandwa.gov/depart/planning/I502.htm.

 

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