Planners approve third pot retailer

Sean C. Morgan

Following a short public hearing Monday evening, the Planning Commission approved a conditional use permit for a third proposed retail marijuana store.

The commission voted 5-0, with Thomas Herb, Anay Hausner, Lance Gatchell, Henry Wolthuis and Eva Jurney were present and voted to approve the permit. Edith Wilcox and Greg Stephens were absent.

No one testified in support or against the proposed shop during the public hearing.

“Based on my review and working with the applicant, I feel that all criteria were met,” said Jerry Sorte, community and economic development director.

La Mota proposed opening the shop at 1027 Long St., the Fallon Building and former site of Periwinkle Provisions.

La Mota Regional Manager Damon Sours testified on behalf of the company, which operates more than 15 other stores in different Oregon cities.

He told the commission that the No. 1 concern he hears is about the odor, and La Mota uses interior filtering to prevent odor from escaping its stores. Employees daily wipe down counters and shelves to help eliminate odor.

Odor is regulated by the Oregon Liquor Control Commission, Hausner said, and the store must meet those standards. A single complaint could shut it down.

The store will sell a wide variety of marijuana products, including flowers, concentrates, edibles, CBD and tinctures, Sours said.

Following the approval, La Mota will begin working on financing and designing the store itself and will work with inspectors in the coming months, Sours said. He would like to see construction beginning within six months.

Following a short discussion, commissioners said the proposal meets criteria and saw no reason to deny it.

The building is approximately 4,811 square feet and owned by Marty and Holly Spurlock, who are planning to sell the building to La Mota. Aaron Mitchell and La Mota were listed as the applicant for the permit.

In other business, the Planning Commission denied a request for a variance to the city’s setback requirements for a lot in the Lake Pointe Estates Subdivision, located off Riggs Hill Road and overlooking Foster Lake.

The applicant, William Lund, had requested a variance to allow the home on one lot to be 8 feet from the property line instead of the required 20 feet because the relatively flat property drops off in a steep slope about 25 feet from the property line.

Citing concerns about public safety related to parking, the commission denied the request 5-0. The setback would have removed space in front of the house for parking. Two spaces are required on the property.

Commissioners were concerned that visitors might park on the street, making it difficult for emergency vehicles to maneuver.

Lund told the commission he had learned about another solution to the parking issue at the commission hearing.