[1/27/19] Okanogan Cannabis Hearing Monday

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Okanogan County commissioners hold a public hearing Monday on amendments to the zoning code that would change where cannabis could be grown. The proposal would also impose rules to minimize the impact on neighboring parcels.

Okanogan County Planning Director Perry Huston says this is the latest batch of regulations to be proposed:

If approved by the Okanogan County Commission, existing cannabis operations will be required to comply with stricter fencing, lighting and signage regulations by January 2021.

The changes would require a fence at least 25 feet from the neighboring property line, and 68 feet from the center-line of a county road. Under the proposal, all types of lighting – not just grow lights and outdoor and security lighting – would have to be downcast and shielded from neighboring properties. In addition, Marijuana farms would have to get a conditional-use permit in the Methow Review District, which runs from Gold Creek to Mazama. A conditional-use permit provides additional review and the opportunity for public comment. Farms are prohibited in residential zones.

The proposed changes come after a moratorium on new cannabis businesses, a review by a cannabis advisory committee composed of members of the public and of the cannabis industry, and several public hearings on interim proposals. The county’s planning director has found the changes wouldn’t have a significant environmental impact.

The public hearing is set for Monday at 7 p.m. in the commissioners’ auditorium in Okanogan.