Maple Ridge council wants medical grows out of residential and commercial areas.

Maple Ridge council wants medical grows out of residential and commercial areas.

Ridge medical marijuana bylaw sent back

Proposed changes to medical marijuana went to public hearing in Maple Ridge

Maple Ridge is going to take a second look at its proposed medical pot bylaw, which would put such grow operations in agricultural zones.

“I think staff just needs to go back and look at that,” said Mayor Ernie Daykin Wednesday.

“I think most of us felt, with the feedback we got from the public hearing, there were just too many questions and concerns.”

The proposed zoning bylaw change went to public hearing last week, when it was roasted by residents who are already coping with smell, noise and security worries about nearby grow ops.

People at the public hearing were concerned about the bylaw, which proposes 60-metre and 30-metre setbacks from property lines for commercial marijuana grow buildings.

They also didn’t want them in rural residential areas.

The District of Maple Ridge is trying to be proactive in responding to a changing federal law that next year will phase out small producers who are licensed to grow medical pot, in favour of fewer, larger, commercial operations.

The bylaw was supposed to get third reading Tuesday, but instead staff were told to rework it, then bring it back to council.

“Staff will look at what we raised, at what the public raised. Then they’ll have to review it with the lawyer about what we can do and what we can’t do.”

Daykin said Maple Ridge council wants commercial medical marijuana operations out of residential areas and out of industrial areas.

“An industrial area is not an appropriate place either,” he said, citing recent complaints about a medical grow operation in the Maple Meadows Industrial area on Kingston Street.

Council recently ordered that operation to improve its ventilation and odour issues or be shut down.

Two possible applications to build a commercial medical marijuana operations are awaiting the bylaw.

Local contractor Ken Kelleway says new medical marijuana facilities will have to meet stringent Health Canada requirements, unlike the existing grows that draw complaints. Standards have to be maintained in order to pass regular inspections or operators won’t get their medical licences renewed, he said last week.