Recreational marijuana growers and producers are hoping new interim zoning ordinances in Spokane County don't send their business up in smoke before it's even sprouted.
Triple T Farms is located at an undisclosed location in Spokane County. The farm is hoping to house its marijuana grow operations at the site once its licensed, however the company's president said new county ordinances could mean hundreds of thousands of dollars lost and a delay in the company getting a state license.
The dream was to turn an old chicken farm into a marijuana farm, but that dream cracked for Tony Reynolds when the Spokane County commissioners passed an interim zoning ordinance earlier this month.
"We had been told that our zoning was in order with the rules, the commissioners rules, so we proceeded to spend a great deal of money," said Reynolds.
The ordinance said marijuana produces and processors had to keep their operation on at least eight acres, 100 feet from the front property line and 300 from the remaining property lines. Triple T Farms falls short at just 67 feet from the front and is also too close to the property on the south side.
"I can sure feel for their responsibility that they feel. We'll just have to work it out," said Reynolds.
A move would result in the loss of tens of thousands of dollars, not to mention a delay in the licensing process, Reynolds added.
"Just our electricity needs, just for one box was $41,000 and we need two," he said.
County planning director John Pederson said the ordinance was adopted to address public concern about crime.
"And also odors and perhaps property values as those kind of production and processing facilities could be located fairly close to somebody's residence," Pederson said.
Those are issues Reynolds said he can mitigate.
"We can control the odor completely. There will be no odor because we are indoors," he explained.
Pederson said interim ordinances are like placeholders for permanent zoning rules, something commissioners can change after a public hearing. Reynolds said when all is said and done Triple T will put more than a million into infrastructure and employ 50 people.
"We're all learning a new industry that is going to make history so nobody wants to make a mistake," Reynolds said.
Triple T Farms suggested the ordinance should be different for indoor grows and outdoor grows. A public hearing is set to discuss the ordinances on May 5.