A Clatsop County hearings officer has approved Marc Plew’s application to build a marijuana laboratory near Jewell School, rejecting an appeal from the school district.
Oregon Jewell, a processing facility, retail space and residence, would be located at the corner of Oregon highways 202 and 103 on the site of a former tavern fewer than 2,000 feet from the school. The school district had argued it is too close to the rural school and across the street from a bus stop.
Plew said he was pleased to hear of Dan Olsen’s approval. “The law stood by the law.”
“I’m not asking to do anything that is not completely legal on that property,” he said. “I wasn’t going to that hearing asking for favors.”
Plew said that unless the school district wants to buy the property from him, he plans to move forward with his project, with completion in the next two to three months. Oregon Jewell will be located in a three-story structure resembling a house.
Jewell Superintendent Alice Hunsaker was not immediately available for comment.
In his ruling, Olsen concurred with most of the county planning staff’s findings in the original approval of Plew’s application, saying most of the concerns raised are around generalized opposition to marijuana legalization and Plew’s facility being an “attractive nuisance” to students.
“I concur with staff that the starting point is that the state has determined that marijuana facilities generally are compatible with schools provided there is compliance with 1,000(-foot) buffer and other restrictions on operations,” Olsen said.
Olsen said there is no evidence of impacts beyond those associated with other allowed uses.
“The only one arguably applicable is odor,” he said. “If this property was located in a more dense area that might be a concern but given the remote location and distance from any other uses, I find that this criteria is met with conditions as proposed by staff.”
Plew’s project must limit objectionable odor, dust, noise, vibration and appearance. He must provide all required state and federal permits to the county. Plew must secure an approved commercial site plan, signage permits and a flood-plain development permit because of a nearby creek.
His business cannot open before 9 a.m., and no marijuana-related products or production space can be visible from the outside of the building. Plew must keep an emergency contact to receive complaints and concerns from the school district.
Olsen found that Plew has been disingenuous in saying he was required to include a retail store as part of his proposed operation. The retail portion, which Plew can eliminate, must not be more than half of his building’s footprint.
Olsen’s approval can be appealed to the county Board of Commissioners.