What do homegrown marijuana, ducks, chickens and food trucks have in common in this town of 6,300?

They are all covered by a proposed new city ordinance.

The Talent City Council amended the zoning code to regulate pot grows, fowl and short-term uses such as food trucks on a 5-1 vote July 19. Councilor Ken Baker cast the dissenting vote after his motion to change the ordinance to ban all outdoor grows failed to get a second.

City staff had worked on ways to regulate the issues for four years, mostly for chickens, said Community Development Director Zac Moody. Planning commissioners had recommended adoption of the ordinance.

Deliberations focused on marijuana cultivation. Councilors noted odors from mature plants bother some residents. Planning commissioners recommended a maximum of six outdoor plants on any property. The proposal also sets standards for setbacks and fencing to screen grows.

Any grow in place when the ordinance becomes effective would be classified as a permitted nonconforming use and not subject to enforcement. However, if the use ceases to exist for 45 days, then future grows at a site would come under the new ordinance. That regulation means current grow sites would need to comply next year after this fall’s harvest.

Regulations would go into effect 30 days after council approves a second reading of the ordinance, which is expected Aug. 2.

Just one person spoke during public testimony, and he said the growing should be done indoors.

“I want to sit out on my patio. I don’t want to be chased inside,” said James Schellentrager. “Eliminate this (outdoor growing) or go back to the drawing board. Once you allow this to happen, it is going to be very difficult to roll this back.”

Neighbors are reticent to file written complaints about odor from grows, said Schellentrager. Moody reported he received just one or two written complaints about cannabis odor in 2016 but 10 to 15 phone calls or walk-in complaints about them.

“In October there are a lot of upset people,” said Baker. “I’ve talked to people who can’t sell their houses right now.”

Up to four recreational marijuana plants or six medicinal plants could be gown per lot. The provisions also require growers to reside on the property and comply with state law.

“This is still a learning process for everyone here,” said Councilor John Harrison. “You did a good job in trying to find a healthy middle ground.”

Other provisions include:

One chicken or duck could be kept at a site for each 1,000 square feet of lot size up to a maximum of 10 birds. They would have to be in a coop at night. Roosters and geese would not be allowed.
Occupation of an RV or manufactured home on a site where an owner is remodeling or building a new home would be allowed. Small, portable office buildings would be legal at construction sites in commercial or industrial zones.
Food trucks would be allowed in commercial zones and would need to be approved by a fire marshal. A taco truck located in the Ray’s Market parking lot for at least a decade would be grandfathered in, said Moody.

“We want to make sure (food trucks) are safe and they are not connected to city water and sewer and they have gray-water disposal,” said Moody.

— Tony Boom is an Ashland freelance writer. Reach him at tboomwriter@gmail.com.