If all goes according to plan, Capitol Hill will have its first retail marijuana shop this February. But that’s a big “if” for shop owner hopeful Samuel Burke.
After failing to get the city’s approval in three Belltown locations, Burke is cautiously awaiting the city’s response to his proposed location at 15th Ave E and E Republican, currently home the the Capitol Hill Animal Clinic. According to state law, a retail marijuana shop must keep a 1,000-foot buffer from schools, parks, or community centers.
“Each time the city objected and we couldn’t over come it,” Burke told CHS of his previous three proposals. “It’s just such a privilege to think I could locate on Capitol Hill.”
Right now, things are looking good for Burke.
Liquor Control Board officials initially told him that the 15th Ave E location was too close to the Parkside School daycare at 12th Ave and E Roy. But after using more precise coordinates, officials determined the daycare actually lies 80 feet outside the 1,000-ft buffer, according to documents obtained by CHS.
“From my initial investigation, I dont see any basis for a geographical objection,” said Beth Gappert, the East Precinct liaison to the City Attorney’s office. “I don’t see anything that the city would object to.”
The mayor’s office will decide by December 4th if it will submit any objections to the state liquor board ahead of the board’s final decision on whether to grant Burke his license. A spokesperson for the mayor’s office referred us to Gappert.
Burke, a 67-year-old investment manager, told CHS he initially thought a Belltown location would generate the most business. “I thought the cruise ships could help underpin performance,” he said.
Burke has since seen the light.
“Capitol Hill has the best restaurants, clubs, and bars,” he said. “We want to be something that Capitol Hill residents are proud to have.”
CHS obtained a copy of Burke’s application for a 15th Ave location which details the months Burke spent trying to find a permissible location for his business. Earlier in the year, Burke had reached an agreement to lease the house at 1410 24th Ave for a shop, the same house that Mello Times had registered for its location. On his application Burke estimated it would cost $187,000 to open a 15th Ave E store and indicated he would not use any outside investors.
Burke said he intends to lease the space now occupied by the longstanding animal clinic, but he did not submit a lease or a landlord’s letter-of-intent to lease with his liquor board application. In previous applications, Burke had obtained letters of intent from building owners. Burke said he
would secure has the lease and would file it with the state once he had the city’s approval.
Dr. Kris Boudreaux, who owns the animal clinic but not the building, refused to comment on the application or the future of her clinic. Ross Kling, owner of Rainbow Remedies and director of the 15th Ave Merchants Association, said surrounding businesses are ready to welcome a retail pot shop to 15th Ave.
“I think it’s long overdue,” Kling said. “It will just be another business on our diverse block of businesses.”
Burke’s hopes have been dashed before, so he was hesitant to divulge any specific plans for his shop. “I’ll give you a cliffhanger,” he said. “It’s going to be different.”
The Seattle Police Department wants those with questions or concerns about Burke’s application to contact the East Precinct Community Police Team at (206) 684-4370. Gappert said the team is primarily interested in hearing about nearby home daycares (or church teen centers) that may have flown under the city’s radar.
Meanwhile Mount Calvary Christian Center’s lawsuit against Uncle Ike’s pot shop continues. An injunction hearing is slated for early December to determine if the 23rd and Union shop should be shut down while the case is argued. The city has repeatedly called for plaintiffs to provide a more “definite statement” regarding its complaint that Ike’s is violating I-502’s 1,000-foot buffer rule.