The public will have another chance to provide input about the pending application for an indoor marijuana grow and retail location on A Street at the Planning Commission meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 12.
The application, filed under the name of Plexis Healthcare Systems’ CEO Jorge Yant, is up for a public hearing after being bumped up to “Type II” level requiring a conditional use permit. City staff told the Tidings in November that the application had raised no concerns and was going to be processed in-house.
The application has since gained attention from Ashland residents who collectively submitted more than 20 pages in public input, according to staff report. Staff also pointed out several concerns, including the increasing traffic, the potential hazard for the city’s wastewater treatment plant and the distance requirement from a residential area, for the commission to discuss.
According to staff report, the opening of the site will generate double the number of vehicle trips compared to a general office during the hours of 4 to 6 p.m. The staff report says the application hasn’t yet successfully demonstrated, as required, that the increase in number of car trips won’t have a negative impact on “the performance of the nearby intersections, pedestrian travel, pedestrian crossings and safety, and bicycle safety.”
The Public Works Department also noted its concerns about the potential chemical content of wastewater generated by the indoor grow ending up in the city’s sewer system.
“Often industrial uses are required to pre-treat wastewater before dispensing it to the public system. In addition, the rate of discharge of this type of wastewater can be an issue and may need to controlled and metered,” the staff report reads.
Per the city’s ordinance, a marijuana retailer and production has to be at least 200 feet from a residential zone. The application, using a methodology that has been used by other marijuana-related applications, suggests that the retail space is 230 feet from the nearest residential zone on the west side of Oak Street and the production space is about 300 feet away. But, according to the staff report, the commission “may have the ability to interpret and apply the separation requirement using a different approach.”
The initial story published in the Tidings on Nov. 16 — a day before the public comment deadline — reported that three comments had been submitted. According to the staff report, the department has since received at least two dozen more.
Per city ordinance, the public comment notice was intended to solicite input from landlords, residents and businesses whose properties are within 200 feet of the building. But that didn’t stop residents all over Ashland from sending in their concerns.
All 20 pages of public comments were written in opposition of the approval of the application, raising concerns about air quality, odor, traffic, safety and the “negative effect on livability, tourism and housing values.”
The application proposes that the retail sales area will be located at 181 A Street — 1,850 square feet in size — and the production area will be at 185, 191 and 195 A Street — 4,180 square feet in size, in the east portion of the building that was formerly an open-air pavilion.
The 6,000-square-foot building served as healthcare software company Plexis’ headquarters for for roughly a decade until November last year when the company moved to Medford. The building, still owned by Plexis, has been vacant since.
The meeting starts at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 12, in the Council Chambers at the Civic Center, 1175 East Main St.
— Reach Ashland Daily Tidings reporter Tran Nguyen at 541-776-4485 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on twitter @nguyenntrann.