Marijuana and the Rural Residential Zone

County Board Halts Marijuana-Related Amendment Process

On December 6th, 2016 the Board of Commissioners directed staff to discontinue the code amendment process that proposed allowing the growing of recreational marijuana in the Rural Residential zone. A letter with this information is being sent to all those individuals who submitted testimony to the County on this topic. Thank you to everyone who participated in this outreach effort!

North Benton County Residents

You may have received a letter from the "North Benton Citizens Advisory Committee" before the 2016 Thanksgiving Holiday. This letter asked you to mail in a form letter stating your opposition to the possible rezoning of the Rural Residential Zone to allow commercial production of marijuana. While the County was actively seeking public input on this topic (the comment period ended December 5th, 2016), you should know this group is not affiliated with Benton County and is not an officially sanctioned Citizens Advisory Committee. County staff is working with the writers of the letter to help them through the process of re-activating this Citizens Advisory Committee. If you have additional questions please contact our office at 541-766-6819.

Marijuana Grow Sites and the Rural Residential Zone

Is your property located within the Rural Residential (RR) Zone? To find out check out BentonMaps. During the Listening Tour in March 2016 the Benton County Planning Division received community-member requests to amend our development code to allow recreational cannabis/marijuana growing operations in the RR Zone. As a result, the Planning Division held an outreach effort in Fall 2016 to explore this topic.

The County has held three meetings on the topic of allowing recreational cannabis/marijuana growing operations in the RR Zone. As of November 1st, 2016, the following is a summary of the concerns expressed by community-members:

  • Crime
  • Security
  • Odor
  • Water use
  • Property values
  • Traffic, dust, road wear and tear
  • Strangers in neighborhood
  • Proximity to children and schools
  • Noise (from fans, generators, etc.)
  • Light pollution (from grow lights & security lighting)
  • Pesticide and other chemical runoff
  • Electricity use
  • OLCC’s & Benton County’s ability to enforce rules
  • Aesthetics
  • Burning of plant materials

3 Conceptual Code Amendment Alternatives

The following code amendment alternatives were drafted in September 2016 as a starting point for exploring ways to mitigate concerns regarding growing operations in the RR zone. Alternative 1 was chosen by the Board of Commissioners on December 6, 2016. 

Alternative 1: No change to current code; OLCC licensed grow sites would remain prohibited.

Alternatives 2 & 3: Details provided here (opens as a PDF).

  • Results and Next Steps Meeting, Thursday, December 8th, 2016 / 5:30 to 7:00 P.M. in the Main Meeting Room, Benton County Sunset Building, 4077 SW Research Way, Corvallis.
  • Code Amendment Workshop, Wednesday, November 2, 2016 / 5:30 to 7:30 P.M. in the Benton County Sunset Building, 4077 SW Research Way, Corvallis.
    • For completed worksheets collected from participants, please click here.
    • Approximately 40 people worked in groups of six to discuss if commercial marijuana growing operations could be allowed in the RR zone in certain situations. Almost all of the groups reported back at the end of the workshop that they felt there were no situations in which it would be appropriate to allow a growing operation in the RR zone.
  • General Questions Meeting, Tuesday, September 6, 2016 from 5:30 P.M. in the Benton County Sunset Building, 4077 SW Research Way, Corvallis.
    • Thank you to everyone who attended and to all of you who have sent in your questions, concerns, and comments! Presentation slides and meeting minutes can be found below under Supporting Documents.
  • CANCELED: Focus Group Meetings have been canceled.
    • Based on the community-member feedback we have received so far via email, phone, and at the General Questions meeting on September 6th, the County is extending the timeframe for drafting potential code amendments. The focus group meetings planned for September 13th and 20th are now canceled.