Rural homeowners object to pot grow operations, tell King County Council, ‘Stop it now’

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SEATTLE -- The King County Council got an earful Wednesday from rural homeowners who object to marijuana grow operations in their neighborhoods.

“We come to you and ask you to stop this now,” said one Enumclaw resident, Chris, testifying before the county council.  “Not a week from tomorrow, not a year down the road, but stop it now.”

In response to the outrage, King County is considering new rules on where pot can be grown in unincorporated areas.  One proposal is to require notification of nearby residents and stricter conditions on operations.

“The odor, it’s always the odor,” said Enumclaw resident Dennis Carlson.  Noise, the industrial look of high-security fences and security lighting, increased traffic, fear of crime, and plummeting property values.”

King County is also considering rules to break up “pot shop clustering” that has happened in the unincorporated areas of Skyway and White Center.

“What we have to decide is whether or not we want to require setbacks between pot shops,” said King County Council member Rod Dembowski.  “Some jurisdictions do; to date, we have not.”

But shop owners are resisting any changes.

“We took a mold-riddled shell of a building at a crime-haven corner and turned it into a job-producing space,” said Philip Dawdy of the Have a Heart pot shop in Skyway.

Lawmakers will be voting in the next few months.

“I want to make sure we aren’t legislating based on fear, but on reality,” said Dembowski.

The county has a moratorium on any new pot businesses and pot grow operations until new rules are approved.

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