The Goldendale Sentinel - Headlines & History since 1879

By Rodger Nichols
For The Sentinel 

Council takes on fresh pot concerns


Rodger Nichols for The Sentinel

NEW MEMBER: Carmen Knopes is sworn in as the newest member of the Goldendale city council Monday night.

Marijuana was the surprise topic at what was supposed to be such a routine meeting that the two media representatives in the room tripled the size of the audience. Following an agenda that lived up to its billing-no presentations, no testimony in a public hearing on the city budget and no comment during the comment period-Goldendale city attorney Ken Harper updated council members on the latest developments involving Golden Dispensaries, LLC.

He noted the Washington Liquor and Cannabis Board had granted what amounts to a transfer of the license to 21-year-old Sullivan Scott Hensrude on Nov. 23. Harper handed out copies of a Nov. 6 letter to the city from WLCB Licensing and Regulation Division Director Rebecca Smith dismissing the city's objection to the transfer based on the city objection to the location of the business.

"The Liquor and Cannabis Board cannot support denial of the application based on a land use issue," she wrote. "Local land use issues are the business of the given city or county and are not within the Board's jurisdiction. This notification is for courtesy purposes only and we will not be offering nor granting you a hearing on this decision."

Harper told council members that was a "fairly routine" matter for the WLCB that did not have any great significance to the city one way or another. What he called "the main event" of the evening was an application by the new owners to put up three new signs. One would replace the current sign on the side of the building and two others would be attached to poles already carrying signs for Byers Realty. The largest, facing southbound traffic on Highway 97, would be four feet by 16 feet, and would fit under the existing Byers Realty sign. A much smaller 18-inch by 36-inch sign would fit below the small Byers sign that is visible to traffic eastbound on Broadway as it approached the intersection with Highway 97.

Harper said no sign permits have been issued yet because there was a question about whether the small Byers sign was in the street's right-of-way or not. Signs are not allowed in rights-of-way.

His key point was this: "Our initial review of the application was that these signs do comply with the Goldendale Municipal Code regarding signage, and there is nothing about the fact that this will be advertising for or promoting the recreational retail marijuana store. There is nothing about that that somehow allows or even suggests that Goldendale should apply a different standard to these signs."

Mayor Mike Canon, who has been in the past a vocal opponent of the store, said that, nonetheless, all legal business have to be treated equally and fairly.

Also at last night's meeting:

• New council member Carmen Knopes was sworn in and said she was excited about working with other council members and the city administration

• Public Works Director Karl Enyeart announced the city had received a $504,466 grant from the Transportation Improvement Board for the West Columbus Neighborhood Improvement Project. Combined with a previously-awarded $750,000 SBDC grant, the two will cover 70 percent of the cost of the estimated $1.9 million project to cover 13 blocks of street and utility improvements.

• City Police Chief Reggie Bartkowski said recent tragic events have led to several people calling his office concerned about whether local law enforcement agencies are trained for active shooter situations. He said Goldendale and Klickitat County were among the most highly trained in the state, having conducted extensive drills for ten years in key facilities in town. He said the next such drill would be sometime in January and invited council members and the public to watch.


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