City Hall round-up: Street food rules pass, medical marijuana progress, Pike/Pine preservation

Here are three announcements from the City Council extra-notable for Capitol HIll plus a reminder that the mayor will be visiting our area of the city Wednesday night.

The Seattle City Council today unanimously approved Council Bill 117225 and related Resolution 31307, supporting the Council’s intent to foster a safe and lively food-vending culture in Seattle. The approved legislation provides policy guidance and direction to the Executive Department regarding a transparent and efficient permitting process, adequate enforcement and on-going monitoring and evaluation of program implementation and impacts.

Councilmember Sally J. Clark, who sponsored the legislation, provided the following statement: “Beyond broadening the array of our local food options, street food vending offers a means for people to create new businesses that can grow and create more jobs. “This legislation strikes a balance between activating our streets and supporting established businesses. I’m especially glad that the Council was able to find creative tools to make sure that vendors comply with our city’s codes. Plus, bringing more people into neighborhoods is good for all businesses there.” On behalf of the Downtown Seattle Association, President Kate Joncas added her support stating, “We really appreciate the work of the City Council to expand mobile food vending in a way that works for neighborhoods, business and property owners, vendors and customers. We look forward to mobile carts and trucks bringing positive activity to public spaces downtown.”

  • Marijuana: In a ruleset that will impact a more nascent Capitol Hill industry, the City Council on Monday also approved legislation that creates a structure for taxing marijuana co-ops. Announcement of the approval is below. The Stranger reports that Council’s next step will be to create laws that define where facilities can — and can’t — operate in Seattle.

The Seattle City Council voted today 8-0, approving C.B. 117229 creating a regulatory framework for medical cannabis operations within the City of Seattle. 

The ordinance addresses City of Seattle, industry stakeholders’, patients’ and advocates’ concerns that medical use of cannabis should be conducted safely and fairly for the health and welfare of the community. Whether one grows tomatoes or cannabis, growers must comply with basic community standards. 

“While the Washington state legislature attempted to clear up language regarding dispensing medical marijuana, the Council and City Attorney Pete Holmes felt more needed to be done at the local level,” stated bill sponsor Councilmember Nick Licata.  “This Ordinance recognizes the continued federal prohibition against marijuana but explains the rules with which businesses must still comply.” 

The City of Seattle, like the State, acknowledges that patients depend on medical marijuana for certain medical conditions. Like other jurisdictions, nearly five percent of Seattle residents, or an estimated 25,000 patients, are medical cannabis users. City Attorney Pete Holmes and Councilmembers acknowledge the federal prohibition of marijuana, but must respond to the changes in state law coming into effect on July 22, to minimize impacts to patients, providers and the welfare of the community.

The ordinance also specifies that problems at medical cannabis facilities can be reported to the Customer Service Bureau, the Seattle Police Department, or the Department of Planning and Development, depending upon the nature of the problem.

There remains a shared concern of industry stakeholders and policymakers that these gardens, dispensaries, and processing cites should be good neighbors to the broader community.  In the upcoming months, legislation will be considered to require appropriate locations and prohibit citing in some areas, such as residentially zoned neighborhoods.

For more information on the City’s medical marijuana ordinance, visit

  • Pike/Pine Transfer of Development Potential: Food, drugs and… a market for moving “development rights from “sending” sites to “receiving” sites within the Pike/Pine neighborhood.” The Council members know how to party. Monday’s announcement flurry also included a schedule for the program CHS reported on here that is being proposed for helping to preserve the historic character of buildings in the Pike/Pine area as development continues to chance the neighborhoods. Mark you calendar for a public hearing on August 15th:

Today Councilmember Tom Rasmussen announced introduction of legislation that will establish aTransfer of Development Potential (TDP) program within the Pike/Pine neighborhood of Capitol Hill. The legislation will provide an additional incentive to maintain the neighborhood’s unique “character structures” (buildings that are at least 75 years old). 



The proposed TDP program would provide a way to move development rights from “sending” sites to “receiving” sites within the Pike/Pine neighborhood.  Sending sites are properties from which the unused development rights are sold and transferred. Once the development rights are sold, they are no longer available to be used on the sending site for future redevelopment. Funds from the sale of transferred development rights may be used to maintain or improve the structure on the sending site, and the owner of the sending site must agree to preserve the character building for at least 50 years.  


Once purchased, the development rights are transferred to a receiving site.  The receiving site must be located in an area where the proposal would allow the transferred floor area to be added to a new project by permitting 10 additional feet of height and increased density above the limits otherwise allowed for projects not using TDP.  The transferred rights may be used for only housing, not for commercial purposes.  In short, the development rights purchased from an existing structure on the sending site are “transferred” to add floor area to a new project on the receiving site. 


“Pike/Pine is one of the most unique and vibrant neighborhoods in Seattle,” . “The smaller and historic buildings are the home to many locally owned businesses, restaurants and nightclubs. The Transfer of Development Potential legislation strengthens our efforts to retain its character and attractiveness.” 


The TDP proposal is the last part of a three-part project to retain the unique character of the Pike/Pine neighborhood. Phase I (completed in June 2009) expanded the Pike/Pine Overlay District, renamed it to add “Conservation” to its title, and added incentives to encourage new projects to retain existing character structures and to provide spaces for small businesses and arts facilities.

Phase II (completed in September 2010) adopted revised Neighborhood Design Guidelines for new and remodeled buildings in the Pike/Pine neighborhood to support conservation goals.

The draft legislation will be referred to the Committee on the Built Environment which will be briefed on the proposal on July 27 and hold a Public Hearing on August 15.

The draft legislation and other background documents are available for review online:

Public Hearing August 15, 2011

The City Council’s Committee on the Built Environment will hold a public hearing to take comments on the proposal at 5:30 p.m. on Monday, August 15, 2011. The hearing willbe held in:Council Chambers, 2nd floorSeattle City Hall600 Fourth Avenue.

Group Health Central Hospital 
Main Building, Conference room 624-630
201 16th Ave East
Wednesday, July 20th 5:00 – 6:00 pm

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One thought on “City Hall round-up: Street food rules pass, medical marijuana progress, Pike/Pine preservation

  1. I’d say it’s ironic that the picture used here is of that thai truck that used to park at the shell station on wednesdays. He showed up every week for about a month then disappeared. As a b+m owner in this hood, I’ve made a commitment to be here through thick and thin as long as I can pay my employees, utilities and rent. These trucks want to swoop in and out and if things aren’t going well they’re never seen again. I wonder if this guy will be back now that the city has decided to subsidize his rent.