Pendleton’s third marijuana grow operation received the green light Tuesday night from the city planning commission.
This was the third hearing to consider a conditional use permit for Burnswell Family Farms, which will operate greenhouses in Riverside at 2612 N.E. Nursery Lane. Burnswell owner Brandon Krenzler said he was pleased with the 5-0 vote to give the business the opportunity to prove it will help the community.
The commission had previously denied Krenzler’s permit on Aug. 14, citing a lack of information. Krenzler appealed to the city council, which on Dec. 5 decided to kick it back to the planning commission.
Planning aide Julie Chase delivered the staff report Tuesday night at city hall and said Krenzler has since provided a more detailed plan. She said the operation would grow and provide marijuana to retail stores, akin to the Walmart Distribution Center in Hermiston, which supplies Walmart stores but does not conduct retail sales.
Commissioners asked Krenzler to address issues ranging from odor to security.
“We will be investing as much as we can into odor mitigation,” he told the commission, with a filtration system on the greenhouse and pleasant smelling plants around the site.
Burnswell also will have 6-8 foot tall cyclone fencing topped with security wire and use landscaping and shrubbery to help obscure it from public view, and include burglary sensors and alarms.
Krenzler said Burnswell would begin with one greenhouse and would like to expand to as many as four.
The vote for the grow site did not come without opposition. Bonnie Bischke read from the four-page letter she wrote to the commission siting her concerns with the project. They ranged from the hours of operation at Krenzler’s marijuana retail business, Kind Leaf, 1733 S.W. Court Ave., to comments on Facebook critical of her opposition to Burnswell to the affects the appearance of a prison-like fence would have on children in the Riverside area.
Commission chair Maureen McCormmach told Bischke much of what she said was not part of the planning decision.
Commissioner Joseph Hull floated a proposal to require Krenzler to come back each time the business installed a new greenhouse, but he dropped that after other commissioners rejected the notion, including Ryan DeGrofft, who said the commission has not placed such restrictions on other businesses.
The commission voted 5-0 for the staff recommendations for conditions on Burnswell and then approved the permit.
Krenzler after the meeting said he and his team wanted to wait for this outcome before starting work at the site. He said they aim to start some landscaping and preparation in the spring, but the Burnswell has to receive approval from the Oregon Liquor Control Commission before opening.
“I’m not sure we’re even going to plant anything this next year,” he said.