A jar of marijuana buds is seen at the Stoney Moose, a Ketchikan retail cannabis shop. There are two retail marijuana stores within Ketchikan’s city limits. (KRBD file photo by Leila Kheiry)

In a split vote, the Ketchikan City Council agreed Thursday to withdraw its protest of a planned marijuana cultivation business. But, the council also asked the city manager for an ordinance to limit the number of marijuana cultivation businesses allowed within city limits, and ban marijuana manufacturing completely.

The council in August voted to protest a business license for Northern Lights Cultivation. The business had not yet signed up to collect sales tax and still needed a building inspection. Council members also were concerned that the business would be near some homes.

The business address listed on the application is 4705 North Tongass, which is north of the airport ferry terminal.

Since then, business owners Jacob Rodriguez and Jesse Hoyt have registered with the borough and had the required inspections. They recently asked the council to withdraw its objection.

On Thursday, council members still were concerned about the location. Some questioned why the Ketchikan Gateway Borough ever approved a conditional use permit.

Here’s council member Judy Zenge:

“These CUPs, I don’t get it. That, to me, I thought, is a residential area. There’s a lot of people there. I know that kids get the bus right there, and there’s people who live in apartments down there,” she said. “So, I don’t know if maybe we didn’t do our homework and find out where these CUPs were going to be. I thought we were pretty clear, but now apparently they go everywhere.”

The Council voted 4-3 to withdraw its protest of a state license for Northern Lights Cultivation. Council members Dick Coose, Janalee Gage and David Kiffer voted to keep the protest.

Council member Bob Sivertsen doesn’t fault the borough. He says it’s following zoning rules set out by the state and local process.

Sivertsen proposed more limits on marijuana businesses within the city. The city already has a 2-store limit for marijuana retail businesses.

“I want to talk about establishing ordinances to mirror the ones we have for retail stores, and limit the cultivation to two within the city limits, and then zero for manufacturing,” he said.

At least three other council members agreed, so that item will come back for future consideration.

Also Thursday, the council approved the Ketchikan Public Library’s strategic plan and the design proposal for the Tongass Historical Museum’s permanent exhibit.