Is this what we want?

The City of Ashland Planning Division should consider carefully the implications of approving the application to use the old Plexis building for growing, processing and selling marijuana.

Marijuana grow operations emit pervasive and penetrating odors that are very offensive. If this application is granted the skunk-like odors associated with growing and processing marijuana will negatively affect air quality outside the building, will penetrate inside surrounding businesses, will be smelled inside cars driving by and will certainly be smelled by pedestrians walking in the area.

Allowing such a large scale marijuana growing and processing operation so close to downtown is unacceptable. It will negatively affect livability, tourism, and housing values. Any kind of business that has such a negative impact on the well-being of Ashland’s citizens, tourists and fellow business owners should not be accepted.

The city asked for comment from entities within 200 feet of the building. However, it is well-known that odors emanating from marijuana grow sites and processing operations can be smelled much further away than 200 feet. For example, when driving along Eagle Mill Road you can smell the skunk odor of marijuana quite a distance away from the actual grow site. Imagine how it will be if marijuana is being grown and processed in such a large facility such as the old Plexis building so close to downtown. The smell will be overwhelming. Think about the impact on tourism.

I live off Oak Street and walk by the old Plexis building on my way into town. There are always numerous cars, pedestrians and cyclists in this area, throughout the day and evening. We will all be negatively affected by the skunk-like odor.

Would a tobacco processing facility be allowed in this building? No! Would a meat packing plant be allowed in this building? No! The odors associated from these kinds of operations are offensive and not suitable for residential areas or close to downtown. The same is true for growing and processing marijuana.

At one time in history the old Plexis building was on the outskirts of town and probably considered suitable for such businesses but it is not now. This building and the surrounding area is a vital part of our downtown.

The city should reject this application and preserve Ashland’s air quality and livability.

Claudia Van Dyke