Marijuana, tattoos and cottage housing hearings scheduled for North Bend council meeting

North Bend residents will be able to comment on several actions by the City Council at the council's Tuesday, April 16, meeting. Three public hearings on council decisions to ban tattoo parlors as home-based businesses, to restrict the size of homes in the cottage residential areas, and to continue a moratorium on medical marijuana facilities, are scheduled for the start of the meeting.

Each issue has come to the council for a vote in the past. However, because the council passed both the ban on tattoo parlors and the cottage housing restriction as emergency, or interim ordinances, a public hearing is required after the fact.

A moratorium on medical marijuana facilities, in place since June, 2011, will expire in May, unless the council votes for another six-month extension of the ban. When the moratorium was approved June 7, 2011, also as an emergency ordinance, staff and legal counsel recommended the action to give the city additional time to consider zoning, licensing and other related issues not resolved within the latest session of the state legislature. The year-long moratorium was extended six months by votes of the council on May 15, and Nov. 6, 2012.

The action against tattoo parlors as home-based businesses was taken at a March 5 council meeting. Staff recommended the ban, which includes body piercing shops and businesses involved in the exchange of marijuana, to maintain the separation of "sensitive uses" that was established in the 2006 edition of the city's comprehensive plan. The decision was strongly criticized by David Herman, a Redmond-based tattoo artist who'd planned to open a new shop on Ballarat Avenue, in the city's downtown commercial zone.

Finally, the cottage housing restriction was implemented to clarify the city's existing code regarding homes in the cottage residential zone. The changes voted in by the council, also at the March 5 meeting, will prevent standard-size homes from being built in the area intended for smaller, innovative homes with a density of 6 to 10 units per acre.

Citizens can also offer written comments to the city, but only on the issue of the medical marijuana moratorium. All written comments must be delivered to the city clerk's office by 4:30 p.m. Monday, April 15.

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