Ordinance 317, which amends sections of Ordinance 295 and Ordinance 314, regarding business permits and time and manner restrictions for marijuana businesses, was the main topic of discussion at the Hines Common Council meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 23.
Mayor Nikki Morgan started the meeting by saying the council had been inundated by questions about the proposed water system project and decisions about marijuana business restrictions. She stated she invited people who had businesses in the Hines Industrial Park to attend the meeting so the council could meet them and find out more about the businesses. Those attending were Ward Mastre of Sage Country Barns, Brandon Baron of The Tree Service, and Doug Murphy of Left Coast Truck Parts and Equipment.
Councilor Dan Grigg stated one of his concerns is that if the industrial park were to really grow with marijuana grows, how would that affect current businesses, or would it deter other businesses from moving in?
Baron said he uses one of the grow operations buildings to park his equipment in, and added that the math will take care of the problem eventually. He asked how many dispensaries can the community support long term, and said, “We’re not going to end with too many down the road, and same with the grows.”
Morgan explained the council is responsible for the entire city, including the industrial park, and pointed out several other businesses that either have already located there or have plans to.
Morgan stated that decisions have been made in the past affecting the city, and the current council has to also make decisions that are in the best interests of the city — now and in the future.
“You have to listen to what the citizens say, the business owners, everybody. The decisions you make are not your own feelings,” Morgan said.
She said when the decision was made to opt-in on marijuana businesses, there was a short time frame to make the decision, and the city took all the time it could. The city did its own research, had additional research brought in, and the decision was made to opt-in for money.
Morgan said it was not an easy decision, and not everybody personally believed in marijuana, but the decision was made.
She stated when people attend the meetings, there are often emotional moments, and what they say may not be true or may not be the whole story. It’s then up to the council to do their homework, get as much information as possible, and make the best decision for now and the future.
When the marijuana decision was made, money was a big factor, but the council also heard from those who use medical marijuana, and that was also a big factor in the decision.
Morgan said when a company comes to look at a perspective city, they contact city hall, and they check out the regulations.
“So, sometimes the city administrator knows stuff that we don’t necessarily know. They may have contacted her,” Morgan said. “The 3M company and Johnson & Johnson, that was not true. That was a story. She was trying to make a point. And the point, if you look at our regulations, our zoning laws, a lab would be allowed no matter what the marijuana buffer.”
Grigg then commented that his concern was that the statement about 3M and Johnson & Johnson made at the Jan.10 meeting was prominent in the Burns Times-Herald’s article the following week, and if it was untrue, that also needed to be in the newspaper, letting the public know it was untrue.
The council then discussed the two drafts of Ordinance 317 prepared by City Administrator Judy Erwin, with the difference between the two drafts being the amount of buffer space.
The pros and cons of each draft were presented by audience members and councilors, resulting in a lengthy discussion. In the end, the council voted to approve the draft that states: “A marijuana dispensary or retail sales outlet must not be located (a) at the same address as a marijuana grow site, (b) within 1,000 feet of the real property comprising a public or private elementary, secondary, and/or career school attended primarily by minors, (c) within 1,000 feet of a park where minors are known to congregate, (d) within 1,000 feet of a residential zone, (e) within 2,000 feet of another dispensary or retail sales outlet, and/or in any area not expressly permitted under the city of Hines Code of Ordinances. A marijuana processor, producer or wholesaler must not be located within 1,000 feet of a residential zone.”
The council agreed that the ordinance include language that the industrial park be excluded from the buffer zones.
A permit fee of $75, with a renewal cost of $50, and an annual $1 fee were also included in the ordinance.
The draft was approved by a 4-2 vote, with Ray Breshears, Robert Beers, John Mims, and Dan Grigg voting in favor, Ron Williams and Diane Rapaport voting nay.
The ordinance will be officially read at the meeting on Feb. 13.
In other business, the council:
• approved sending a letter to the Infrastructure Funding Agency so as to move forward with the Water Master Plan;
• appointed Erwin budget officer for 2018-19;
• approved a business license for Martinak Ventures, LLC;
• approved the recommendations from the planning commission for High Desert Transformations and Eastern Oregon Business Development;
• heard an offer from Tom Choate to pave streets in Hines for two weeks at no cost, as long as the city purchased the supplies needed, such as asphalt;
• heard from Councilor Rapaport about grant opportunities for a new skate park.
The next council meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 13, at city hall.