State Land Use Board Rules in Favor of Two New Marijuana Operations | Smoke Signals | Bend | The Source Weekly - Bend, Oregon

Coverage for Central Oregon, by Central Oregonians.
100% Local. No Paywalls.

Every day, the Source publishes a mix of locally reported stories on our website, keeping you up to date on developments in news, food, music and the arts. We’re committed to covering this city where we live, this city that we love, and we hear regularly from readers who appreciate our ability to put breaking news in context.

The Source has been a free publication for its 22 years. It has been free as a print version and continued that way when we began to publish online, on social media and through our newsletters.

But, as most of our readers know, times are different for local journalism. Tech giants are hoovering up small businesses and small-business advertising—which has been the staple for locally owned media. Without these resources, journalism struggles to bring coverage of community news, arts and entertainment that social media cannot deliver.

Please consider becoming a supporter of locally owned journalism through our Source Insider program. Learn more about our program’s benefits by clicking through today.

Support Us Here

Culture » Smoke Signals

State Land Use Board Rules in Favor of Two New Marijuana Operations

LUBA says Deschutes County Board of Commissioners' loose definition of Youth Activity Center doesn't fly

by

comment

In November, voters in Deschutes County will decide whether to continue to allow new marijuana farms to open up in the county. Meanwhile, two hopeful Deschutes County marijuana farms have received word from the Oregon Land Use Board of Appeals that they can move forward in building their operations.

The Deschutes County Board of Commissioners initially denied two separate applications, including ones by Tommy Nehmzow and Waveseer of Oregon, both which wanted to build indoor marijuana production facilities on exclusive farm use land in rural Deschutes County. After the initial applications for both farms got the OK from county staff, the Board of Commissioners denied each application, stating that in both cases, the farms would be located adjacent to a "Youth Activity Center," a term mentioned, but not defined in Deschutes County marijuana regulations at the time.

Two proposed indoor cannabis sites may benefit from recent rulings. - PIXABAY
  • Pixabay
  • Two proposed indoor cannabis sites may benefit from recent rulings.

In the Waveseer case, the land in question was adjacent to Rhinestone Ranch, an equine facility where 4-H activities took place. In the Nehmzow case, the land is adjacent to Sundance Meadows, a "recreational community" that includes temporary residences and a number of recreational amenities.

The problem, LUBA later ruled, was that Deschutes County didn't have a codified definition of what constituted a Youth Activity Center. Following a remand from LUBA in the Waveseer case, which stated that the County should define what a YAC entails, the County appealed, stating it had since named 10 criteria by which a YAC could be defined.

On Aug. 10., LUBA issued final opinions and orders in both cases, saying, among other arguments in favor of the prospective farmers, that because the County did not have the YAC definitions in place before the applicants submitted their applications, the applicants could not be expected to know what might have prevented from using that EFU land for marijuana production. In other words, county commissioners attempted to impose rules on the prospective farms after the prospective farmers submitted their applications.

"We conclude that the 'youth activity center' criterion cannot be applied because it violates the codification requirement," wrote LUBA in its order in the Waveseer case. Similarly, in the Nehmzow case, LUBA wrote,

"The board of county commissioners expressly adopted those findings of compliance and conditions in the staff report, except that the board denied the application based solely on its application of the youth activity center separation distance requirement," adding, "We conclude that the board erred in applying that criterion. Accordingly, there is no basis for the county to deny the application."

The LUBA decisions mark a years-long fight for the two farm applicants, who now, under LUBA's ruling, could see their applications approved by Deschutes County. The County can still appeal.

About The Author

Nicole Vulcan

Nicole Vulcan has been editor of the Source since 2016. (Blame her for everything since then.) Favorite car: A Trek commuter bike. Favorite cat: An adopted dog who looks like a Jedi master. Favorite things, besides responding to your comments: Downton Abbey re-runs, Aretha Franklin albums, and pink wine.

Add a comment

More by Nicole Vulcan

  • Back to the Beginning for a Return to School at Bend-La Pine Schools

    Back to the Beginning for a Return to School at Bend-La Pine Schools

    Families with younger children attended Bend-La Pine Schools will have to wait at least another three weeks to see their students return to schools in person. The district announced Monday that due to an increase in cases of COVID-19 in Deschutes County in recent weeks, it would have to delay its plan to send kids in kindergarten through 3rd grade back to school buildings starting next week.
    • Sep 29, 2020
  • Big Changes at Bachelor

    Big Changes at Bachelor

    As pandemic restrictions continue, Oregon's biggest ski resort plans for reservation-only parking, limited indoor amenities for the winter season
    • Sep 23, 2020
  • Fresh Hopes, Fresh Hops

    Fresh Hopes, Fresh Hops

    Local beers to take home, celebrating the hop harvest
    • Sep 23, 2020
  • More »