REDMOND, OR -- Deschutes County Commissioners heard from numerous neighbors, during a Wednesday public hearing, concerned about a marijuana operation proposed for the outskirts of Redmond. Evolution Concepts LLC wants to develop a 56-acre property near Highway 126 and Helmholtz, which would include four greenhouses and a processing facility.
Marijuana-related businesses are not allowed inside Redmond's Urban Growth Boundary (UGB); the proposed property is just west of that line. Redmond City Councilor Tory Allman says the business doesn't fit the values of the community. "This is located right at the western gateway to our community. I understand that right now it’s outside our UGB; it does border our Urban Reserve, so currently it’s governed by the county. But some of that land is scheduled for later residential development. We do not feel this would be an appropriate location for an operation like this at all." Mayor George Endicott also submitted a letter opposing the operation due to its proximity to churches and private schools.
Other neighbors testified about concerns over increased traffic, odor and water usage, including how the business' water needs could impact neighboring irrigators. Outside the irrigation season, the business plans to truck in water. Kay Sanborn has lived in the area for more than 40 years. She’s worried about how those water trucks and others connected to the business could bring more traffic to an already busy highway. "I have to make a left turn when I’m going west, to get on to our road. And, the speed limit is 55; people do not go 55. I turn my blinker on at approximately where that site will be, where they want to be, and I many times have to pump my brakes and I’m still afraid I’m going to get rear-ended." Monica Piett echoed that concern, saying it will increase congestion in an area known to be dangerous
. "Alfalfa continues to be an excellent example for the traffic impacts, as well, to residential areas, and the safety as well as the increased traffic accidents. So, this particular site in Redmond, there’s been at least one fatal accident, already, as well as numerous other accidents."
Other neighbors told Commissioners the operation will decrease property values and complained the owners are from out of the country. An attorney for the applicant assured the Board of Commissioners that they are local and want to be good neighbors by satisfying all land use and permit requirements.
Also Wednesday, Commissioners voted to allow a marijuana production facility on Goodrich Road, north of Highway 126 in Sisters. The Board said the applicant, Norma Tewalt, complied with all applicable sections of the county's code and asked staff to prepare the final approval documents.