Neighbors respond to proposed marijuana grow

Odor, noise, safety, water use and potential contamination from waste water topped the list of concerns submitted to the Linn County Planning Commission about a land use application for a rural Lebanon property on which owners plan to grow marijuana.

Last September Florida-based Kaya Holdings, Inc. announced plans to establish a marijuana grow and manufacturing facility at the 26-acre property they purchased at 34225 Kowitz Road.

They submitted a site plan review application to the Linn County Planning and Building Department on Feb. 9. The public comment period ended on March 30.

“We received 20 comments from property owners regarding the proposed application, 19 in opposition and one in favor,” said Alyssa Boles, senior planner.

The proposed use of the property is listed as an “OLCC-licensed marijuana farm.” The company plans to build two approximately 25,000-square-foot buildings for indoor growing and one 15,000-square-foot building for marijuana processing, according to the application.

They also plan to build 10 outdoor “hoop houses or greenhouses” which will be approximately 3,600 square feet each.

Their land use application notes that Kaya Holdings initially intends to build five or six of the hoop houses, one of the 25,000-square-foot buildings and the 15,000-square-foot processing building.

Outdoor hours of operation are listed as 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily. The company plans to employ eight to 10 full-time employees and six to eight part-time employees.

Several letter writers expressed concerns about considering a land use for a marijuana grow because it is illegal on a federal level. Some expressed concerns about how the operation will be regulated, the increased use of rural roads and the wastewater it will generate.

Kaya Holdings addressed wastewater in its application.

“No wastewater from cannabis production and processing (is) anticipated, but if any (is) produced it would be collected and picked up by (a) local waste management contractor and have zero effect on the ecological infrastructure,” according to the application.

One person commented that he had heard there is only one Linn County code enforcement employee and there is a backlog on responding to complaints.

“The County has one half-time code enforcement officer,” Boles said. “Planning & Building Department staff investigate complaints as well.”

There is a backlog of complaints, she said.

“There are different types of complaints to be addressed, that range anywhere from drainage issues, remove and fill permits, solid waste, excessive junk or vehicles, unauthorized construction, occupied RV’s, and land use violations,” Boles said.

Once the violation is in the county’s system, they typically investigate the property within two weeks, she said.

Many of the people who commented wrote about how they think having an “industrial” facility in a rural area would negatively impact their quality of life.

One young teenager wrote that he was worried his friends would not be allowed to visit him at his home.

“My siblings and I shoot guns, ride dirt bikes, ride bikes, we play football with/without friends,” he wrote. “We do a lot of outside activities and I think if this plant goes in it will stop me from doing the things I love.”

The sole comment submitted in support of the land use application was one sentence: We support this request.

A decision is scheduled to be issued on April 20, Boles said.