Sparks City Council Meeting 5/27/2014 2:00:00 PM

    Tuesday, May 27, 2014 2:00 PM
    Sparks City Hall, Legislative Bldg, Council Chambers, 745 4th St., Sparks

Planning and Zoning Public Hearings and Action Items: 8.1

Title: Second Reading, Public Hearing and possible discussion on Bill No. 2673, CA-4-14 - An ordinance amending Title 20 of the Sparks Municipal Code to provide zoning authorization (Section 20.41.080) for the establishment of medical marijuana dispensaries and other matters properly related thereto.
Petitioner/Presenter: Community Services Department/Planning Division/Karen L. Melby, AICP
Recommendation: Planning Commission and Community Services Department recommends approval; see motion below.
Financial Impact: N/A
Business Impact (Per NRS 237):
A Business Impact Statement is not required because this is not a rule.
Agenda Item Brief:

This is request for a Code Amendment to provide zoning authorization (Section 20.41.080) for the establishment of medical marijuana dispensaries.


In the year 2000, voters in Nevada passed Question 9, amending the state constitution to sanction medical cannabis (i.e. marijuana) and, specifically, to allow physicians to authorize qualified patients to consume and grow cannabis for personal use. In 2013, the Nevada legislature passed and Governor Sandoval signed into law SB 374, which directs the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services to develop regulations for, and oversee the creation of, licensed establishments to produce, test and dispense cannabis and cannabis-infused products to authorized patients for medical use.

On April 1, 2014, the final regulations became effective and the State has indicated it will accept applications for ‘registration certifications’ for medical marijuana establishments as early as this summer of 2014. The Division of Public and Behavioral Health of the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services will administer these regulations for the operation of medical marijuana establishments and approve the medical marijuana establishments to operate in each jurisdiction.

One of the State requirements is that a location be identified in the application. In order for the medical marijuana establishment to receive the Nevada state registration certification, it must be in compliance with local government ordinances/rules and receive any required approvals from the local government. If a local government has not enacted zoning restrictions, the medical marijuana establishment is not required to secure approval from the local government. By enacting regulations on medical marijuana dispensaries, the City can review and have input on the location and operations.

Following a public hearing on April 17, 2014, the Sparks Planning Commission recommended approval of amendments to the City's Zoning Code to permit medical marijuana dispensaries in certain zoning districts and subject to certain standards reviewed through a major special use permit process.


This proposed amendment to Chapter 20 establishes the authority to regulate medical marijuana dispensaries which are retail businesses where patients with medical marijuana cards can purchase medical marijuana products. The definition of a medical marijuana dispensary was part of the CA-2-14 Code Amendment approved by the Planning Commission this past March and therefore is not part of this Code Amendment.

This code amendment adds a new section (20.41.080 Medical Marijuana Dispensary) to Chapter 20.41 Permits Required for Certain Uses. The proposed regulations require these uses to obtain approval of a major special use permit prior to establishment. If the medical marijuana dispensary loses its Nevada registration certification then the special use permit would be revoked by the City.

The standards also provide that if the establishment closes the City’s major special use permit is revoked. This differs from other special use permits in that these permits do not run with the property and only apply to the approved applicant.

The City’s proposed regulations require the medical marijuana dispensaries to comply with the Nevada regulations, including the separation criteria. A medical marijuana dispensary must be located 300 feet from community facilities and 1,000 feet from schools. In addition, the proposed code amendment adds a requirement that dispensaries must be located 1,000 feet from substance abuse treatment centers. Medical marijuana dispensaries will only be permitted with a major special use permit, complying with the separation regulations, in C-2 (General Commercial District), TOD (Transit Oriented District – Mixed Use Commercial) and in I (Industrial) in buildings fronting the arterials and measured 1000 feet from the center of the following intersections: McCarran Boulevard and Glendale Avenue; McCarran Boulevard and Greg Street; and, Rock Boulevard and Glendale Avenue.

There are also standards governing operations including loading and unloading, refuse disposal, public safety, security, property access and emission controls. Amendments to Section 20.49.020 establish parking standards for the medical marijuana dispensaries. The proposed parking requirement is one per 200 square feet of net usable area.

Section 20.91.010, the Industrial Use Table, permits medical marijuana dispensaries in our Industrial zoning district per the above discussed locational criteria. In the TOD (Transit Oriented District) zoning district, medical marijuana dispensaries would be permitted in Mixed Use Commercial (MUC). The attached Table 2 Permitted/Prohibited Use is repeated in the Mixed-Use Commercial Design Manual and Residential Design Manual. All of these tables will be amended with this code amendment.

During the public hearing at the Planning Commission on April 17, 2014, there was testimony that the proposed hours of operation for medical marijuana dispensaries in the Industrial area are too restrictive with closing at 6 pm. The Police Department had advocated for this limitation and so planning staff did not want to recommend a change in the hours of operation for medical marijuana dispensaries without consulting with the Police Department. The Planning Commission recommended maintaining a 6 pm closing time in the Industrial area. Staff has since met with the Police Department and proposes changing the code amendment to allow medical marijuana dispensaries to be open to 7 pm in the Industrial area.

The permitting process for medical marijuana dispensaries requires the issuance of a special use permit. An applicant for a medical marijuana dispensary has the option to submit their request for a special use permit prior to seeking provisional approval from the State of Nevada Behavioral Health Department or they can ask the Community Services Department/Planning Division for a Zoning Verification letter that would address whether the proposed location is a possible site for a medical marijuana dispensary with the submittal and approval of a special use permit.

Alternatives: City Council cannot approve the Code Amendment.

Recommended Motion: I move to approve Bill No. 2673 to amend Chapter 20 of the Sparks Municipal Code to establish zoning authority for the establishment of medical marijuana dispensaries and other matters properly related thereto.

Attached Files:
     Title 20 Zoning and Land Use Amendment (Added Section for Medical Marijuana Dispensaries).pdf
     PC Report of Action 4-17-14_CA-4-14.pdf
     Potential Dispensery Locations - zoning 8 1-2 x 11.pdf
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