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Seattle Times coverage of pot policy, culture and lifestyle.

July 24, 2014 at 2:52 PM

City sues Seattle’s first pot grower over building permit problems

The city of Seattle is suing Seattle’s first legal, recreational pot grower, Sea of Green Farms, claiming the company altered its building without a proper permit and is continuing to operate outside of the city’s building code.

The city’s complaint says Sea of Green and the Department of Planning and Development (DPD) regularly communicated about permits and inspections from May 2013 through June of this year. Although the complaint shows Sea of Green tried to obtain several variations of a building permit, the DPD contends Sea of Green constructed outside of what their plans allowed and never passed a final building inspection.

The City Attorney’s Office contends Sea of Green’s owners, “continue to occupy the building without a certificate of occupancy in violation of the … Seattle Building Code.”

The city asks the court to hit Sea of Green with a $500-per-day penalty, from Jan. 19, until Sea of Green complies with Seattle’s building code.

Here’s a timeline of events, according to the complaint:

Bob Leeds, co-owner of Sea of Green Farms, said his company did not know about problems with its permit or inspection until it received the complaint and expects the issue to be resolved early next week.

He characterized the city’s complaints as a misunderstanding said the city had “been very very good to us and they’ve tried to work with us all the way through.”

Bryan Stevens, a spokesman for DPD, said the lawsuit should not have been a surprise for Sea of Green and that an inspector notified them that their case was headed for the City Attorney’s office.

“They never completed revisions and it lagged long enough without any other progress that we forwarded the case to the (City Attorney’s office),” said Stevens. He said litigation is usually a “last-ditch effort to get motivation behind a solution.”

Kimberly Mills, a spokeswoman for the City Attorney’s office, said the city hopes to settle the lawsuit with Sea of Green and that the City Attorney’s Office was not trying to make a statement about marijuana businesses by pursuing Sea of Green.

“These businesses are treated as any other business in the city. They won’t be given a break, and they won’t be penalized unfairly,” said Mills.

Comments | Topics: pete holmes, Sea of Green

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