Having rejected a proposal to build a marijuana production facility east of Bend earlier this year, the Deschutes County Commission now has the chance to reconsider. Its members should read carefully the decision by the Land Use Board of Appeals issued Oct. 18 and give Waveseer of Oregon the right to build the facility.
In their continuing effort to keep marijuana production out of Deschutes County, county commissioners earlier this year denied Waveseer the right to build a marijuana production facility on Dodds Road, east of Bend. They did so, they said, because the proposed site was within 1,000 feet of a "youth activity center," and thus prohibited. A 4-H Club met nearby, and a stable that offers horseback riding lessons to children and adults is also within the 1,000-foot separation buffer.
LUBA, which heard the appeal, is the three-member board created in 1979 to hear and decide local land use cases in Oregon. Before that, the cases had been heard in local circuit courts.
In the Waveseer case, LUBA ruled that the county's ban on marijuana businesses near youth activity centers was wrong. For one thing, the board said, the county's code does not define what constitutes a "youth activity center," making it impossible for a potential business to decide if a particular property could be used.
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Too, the board said, youth activity centers are not listed as among uses allowed on land zoned for exclusive farm use, as the property in question was, while marijuana production is allowed.
It's been clear for some time now that at least two members of the County Commission are committed to restricting marijuana business as much as possible in the county. To that end, voters in the county and its cities will be asked to ban it outright at the November 2020 election.
Until then, commissioners must accept the fact that marijuana production is legal and act accordingly. They cannot rely on poorly written and vague conditions, as the LUBA ruling in this case makes clear. Nor should they stall on the case for more than a year until the vote is held.
— Bend Bulletin