LACOMBE COUNTY- The County’s Land Use Bylaw was amended to accommodate cannabis legalization at the October 25 council meeting.
Before these changes were drafted, two public meetings were held, in conjunction with Alberta Health Services, as part of the County’s Cannabis in Your Community public engagement strategy.
The feedback from these meetings and a public survey were used to gather comments and concerns regarding cannabis legalization and its impacts on Lacombe County.
"Our goal from the start was to ensure the changes to the bylaw took into account the many perspectives held by our ratepayers," said Reeve Paula Law. "Council felt that this updated Land Use Bylaw encompasses the concerns and opportunities felt by Lacombe County ratepayers, while providing a strong foundation that can be built on for this emerging industry."
The two areas that the bylaw looked at were cannabis production facilities and cannabis retail.
After hearing from residents during the October 11 council meeting, voting was delayed on second and third reading on the Land Use Bylaw, which would have set out the guidelines for production facilities and retail locations.
Concerns were brought forward at the public hearing regarding the proposed setbacks in the Agricultural Districts for cannabis production facilities, which was originally proposed to be 100 metres from all property boundaries.
"The purpose of setbacks is to prevent nuisance conflicts, protect existing residential and agricultural operations, and safeguard human health," said Freitag. "However, large setbacks can also cause siting issues, and the County recognized that it needed to strike a balance that reduces potential conflict between uses, while still being reasonable and economical."
To address the concerns, Council approved the amendment to make setback requirements for cannabis production facilities in the Agricultural District at 25 feet from a property boundary in alignment with the current setbacks for buildings.
This distance is at the discretion of the Development Authority, which may impose a greater setback from the property boundary as a condition of approval for a cannabis production facility if they feel it is necessary to protect against any adverse impacts or nuisance to neighbouring properties.
For more details on Cannabis Legalization in Lacombe County, visit www.lacombecounty.com
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