City OKs changes to marijuana grows

Following a brief presentation from Steve Harris, the city’s planning director, The Dalles City Council voted unanimously Monday to change the city’s marijuana ordinance to boost odor control.

The revised ordinance was necessary to deal with odor control and screening issues associated with marijuana grow sites, Planning Director Steve Harris said.

Harris pointed out that following a public hearing on the marijuana ordinance on May 22, the city council declined to approve a revised ordinance regarding issues that had come up.

The revisions discussed in May would have established new separation requirements for recreational retail marijuana establishments, as well as “reasonable restrictions” pertaining to screening and odor control for personal marijuana grow sites.

The planning department has been working on a resolution to revise the ordinance since then. Highlights of the new ordinance include text amendments that address concerns related to the “visibility and odors emanating from home-grown recreational or personal medical marijuana grow sites” in areas of The Dalles zoned for residential uses.

Specifically, the amendments add restrictions in residential districts. First, that odor associated with marijuana would be prohibited from emanating “from the property ... to any other property.” Second, marijuana would be prohibited from being located in a place where “the grow site may be seen by normal unaided vision from a public space or neighboring property.”

According to Harris, state rules require any marijuana grow site to be kept away from the public. He said a person responsible for a marijuana grow site “must effectively prevent public access and obscure from public view all areas where marijuana is being produced,” in the words of one of the Oregon Health Authority administrative rules on the topic.

A penalty of up to $500 for each day the violation occurs is currently in place.

“These rules address concerns of security raised at the May hearing,” Harris explained. “The staff recommendation is that you adopt this ordinance.” After the presentation from Harris, Councilor Taner Elliott made the motion to approve the revised ordinance.

The council then voted 5-0 to approve the changes, which went into effect as of July 10.

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