Assembly member Aaron Bean is the CEO of Green Leaf Inc., a marijuana grow and retail operation. The building that will house the business is under construction and located across from the Old Sitka Dock. (Photo courtesy of Green Leaf Inc.)

Two of Sitka’s political leaders are putting down new roots.

Doing business as Green Leaf Inc., Assembly member Aaron Bean wants to grow and sell pot across from Halibut Point Marine Services.

Last Wednesday (11-16-16), the Planning & Zoning Commission approved a conditional use permit for Bean’s retail shop at 4614 Halibut Point Road. In May, they also awarded Bean a permit for a grow operation at the same location. The lot is owned by Connor and Valerie Nelson.

While no building exists in that lot yet, the application envisioned a ground floor retail shop – a little over 1000 square feet in size – with edibles, concentrates, and flowers stored behind the counter. The plan specifies that a receptionist will check IDs. Patrons must be 21 or older. Senior Planner Mike Scarcelli said the location is also at an adequate distance from schools and churches, meeting the state’s 500 foot buffer rule.

Drawn into the Green Leaf floor plan is a bar with several stools, where patrons could smoke on the premises. State permits don’t allow on-site consumption right now. But Eric van Veen, Green Leaf’s Director of Grow Operations, told the commission that the state may rule otherwise in the coming months. “We just spoke with Cynthia Franklin, the director of AMCO (Alcohol and Marijuana Control Board), and they will be taking a look at on-site consumption in February of 2017. And so that’s when the Marijuana Control Board would make a decision on that,” he said. 

Bean’s pot shop is the sixth marijuana business to receive a conditional use permit from the Planning Commission. The group is excited about the revenue potential is could bring to Sitka. Commission member Darrell Windsor said, “I think it’s a great idea. Tourists in, smoke em’ out, feed ‘em, send ‘em on their way.” This elicited some chuckles from the table.

The commission approved the permit unanimously, under the condition Bean develops a detailed plan for parking. It will now go before the Assembly for final approval.

The Planning and Zoning Commission also heard from Representative Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins, who was recently re-elected by House District 35.

Kreiss-Tomkins owns a lot at 503 Shennett Street. He wants to build a small home as an accessory dwelling unit (ADU) on the property, which is currently undeveloped. To access the property, he requested the commission’s approval to park on a city-owned right of way.

The lot itself is marshy and wooded. Building on it will require the involvement of the Army Corps of Engineers and minimal impact to the surrounding wildlife. Kreiss-Tomkins, who was present at the meeting, described it as his “little patch of swamp.”

The variance request came up first. But after some talk, the Planning Commission decided to postpone their decision for a month, until Kreiss-Tomkins could provide more detailed drawings and information on the design. He invited the group to make a site visit in the future.