BEND, OR -- State Senators held a hearing in Salem, this week, on changes to a proposed bill designed to clarify rules for legal marijuana operations. Deschutes County Commissioner Tony DeBone is concerned one amendment could wipe out "time, place and manner" restrictions imposed last year on grow operations. "Deschutes County, we went through and put some time, place and manner regulations: Dark skies; so you can't have a well-lit greenhouse glowing at night in the dark EFU lands, sight and sound and smells," DeBone tells KBND News. "So, those are the things we regulated. And now there's a bill with these amendments that say the 'Right to Farm' means you can grow a crop on EFU - which we all support, I support that. But, with this new crop, we've put some regulations in place."
Amendment 11 for SB 1057 would prohibit a county from placing restrictions on the production or processing of pot at a licensed operation on land designed as Exclusive Farm Use (EFU). DeBone says that doesn't account for communities where agriculture neighbors residential neighborhoods. "One of the things in Deschutes County, we've got large EFU parcels - exclusive Farm Use is the zoning - they're usually surrounded with Multiple Use Agricultural, which is smaller parcels, and rural residential parcels. So, we've got families and a residential feel in some of these farming areas; and, how do we deal with that balance?"
Commissioner DeBone says, "We're being used as the poster child. Deschutes county's regulations have been mentioned as too onerous. But, they're the right things for us - Deschutes County - with the rural residential properties." If the bill passes with Amendment 11, DeBone says it would not only negate noise and odor mitigation guidelines in the current county code, it would also do away with a requirement to notify neighbors. "We've got a large EFU parcel in South County: It's all residential around it. And the people are very upset they got notified that there's an application for this. Which is a robust community discussion, so we're in the right spot, right now."
Click HERE or visit our Podcast Page to listen to our full conversation with Deschutes County Commissioner Tony DeBone. The bill remains in committee.