The Pendleton City Council could soon be thrust back into the marijuana debate.
On Aug. 10, the Pendleton Planning Commission denied an application to Burnswell Family Farm, a marijuana grow at the old Riverside Nursery associated with the Kind Leaf Pendleton cannabis dispensary. Kind Leaf co-owner Brandon Krenzler is already in the process of appealing the commission’s decision to the council, which could affirm the commission’s decision or reverse course and grant Burnswell conditional use.
Pendleton planning aide Julie Chase said the commission rejected the Burnswell application because of “insufficient details” from the applicant.
In an interview Wednesday, Krenzler described the commission meeting as “odd” and “surprising,” especially since the commission had already approved an indoor grow called GhostTown Organix in April.
Three commission members — Maureen McCormmach, Wendy Largent and Ryan DeGrofft — were absent, leaving the commission with a bare-minimum four-person quorum.
After public testimony and deliberation, a motion to approve the application was deadlocked under a 2-2 vote, with commissioners Terry Clarke and Vincent Papol voting against.
When commissioners Brian Currin and Sunny Harmeson supported a subsequent motion to extend the hearing to the next commission meeting, Clarke and Papol also formed the opposition. Failing to extend the hearing, the Burnswell application was officially denied.
The meeting minutes show commission members asked Krenzler and staff questions about the measures in place to obscure the marijuana grow from public view, Burnswell’s intention to expand beyond the two existing greenhouses on the property and future use of the property’s caretaker dwelling.
The owner of the adjoining property was the only public testimony against Burnswell. She shared concerns about transients disturbing her property once the grow starts operation, how much water the facility would use from its own well and the potential exposure of her adult son with special needs to marijuana.
The document suggests that there was some confusion on the extent of the commission’s jurisdiction.
“The commission lacks knowledge on the subject of marijuana to know, comfortably, what (Oregon Liquor Control Commission) will regulate and with what the city should be most concerned,” the minutes state.
Clarke, the planning commissioner, said in a Wednesday interview that there was enough uncertainty surrounding the Krenzler’s application that he voted against it. With Krenzler requesting an appeal, Clarke thought the city council would be a better public body to consider Krenzler’s request. Papol, the other commissioner who voted against approving the application, did not return requests for comment.
Krenzler said he didn’t think all of the commission’s concerns were pertinent and pointed out that only four of the seven commissioners were present for the hearing. Krenzler said he feels good about presenting his case to the city council, where he can make an argument that Burnswell will be a positive contributor to Pendleton’s economy.
Chase, the planning aide, confirmed Krenzler was in the midst of the appeal process but said the council hearing has not yet been scheduled.
Contact Antonio Sierra at email@example.com or 541-966-0836.