County greenlights Canby cannabis operation

Special Reports

Land use fight between property owners, Clackamas County

Landowners have won the right to have multiple marijuana growing licenses on one piece of land south of Canby (Hannah Ray Lambert)

CANBY, Ore. (KOIN) — A Portland-based company has won its fight to put multiple licensed marijuana premises on one piece of property just south of Canby.

Horta Latitude 45, LLC bought the 20-acre plot of land along Highway 170 in 2017 with the ability to have multiple marijuana growing licenses on site. Horta planned to construct eight greenhouses for indoor production. Outdoor production was to occur in a 200 by 500 foot open area, according to the decision handed down by Clackamas County Hearings Officer Fred Wilson. Horta also planned to use two shipping containers for “drying, trimming and curing the marijuana.”

Clackamas County approved the application in June 2018, giving Horta four years to implement the proposed use. Then, eight months later, the county passed a new ordinance limiting licenses to only one per property.

The landowners appealed, claiming the county can’t retroactively make such a change. Wilson agreed.

“The Grow Permit decision approved a marijuana grow operation in eight greenhouses and one outdoor area. The only way to achieve that use (then and now) is by having multiple licensed premises on the property. While it may not have been specifically stated in the Grow Permit decision that multiple licensed premises were permitted, I believe it was certainly the understanding of everyone involved that multiple licensed premises were part and parcel of the decision.”

Fred Wilson, Clackamas County Hearings Officer

At a hearing in October, a number of people who live nearby testified they don’t want the greenhouses and cannabis farm, citing noise, odor and other concerns. In his decision, Wilson wrote that he sympathizes with the arguments, but that they “pertain to marijuana growing in general and do not have any relevance to the issues in the present case.”

Horta had also applied for a vested right determination, which Wilson decided was unnecessary, since the landowners still had plenty of time left in their four-year approval period to implement the proposed use.

Horta Latitude 45 LLC argued it has the right to put nine licensed marijuana premises on one parcel of land south of Canby (Clackamas County Planning and Zoning Division)

As long as Horta implements the proposed use of the eight greenhouses and one open area within that time frame, Wilson wrote that the use will become a “nonconforming use,” meaning one that was allowed under zoning regulations at the time it was established, but is no longer permitted. If Horta does not do it within four years, then the company will lose the right to continue the use “unless it could establish a vested right,” according to Wilson’s decision.

The decision was handed down November 21. Appeals can be filed with the Land Use Board of Appeals for a period of 21 days.

An attorney for Horta said they were very pleased with the outcome and will now sit down with the county to make sure all the permits are in order so construction can resume.

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