County holds that commercial marijuana operation in mixed use district is illegal

The Cascade County Zoning Board of Adjustment voted unanimously during their June 16 meeting to deny an appeal from a marijuana business owner.

Shawn Brass appealed to the board after county planning staff sent him a cease and desist for a nonconforming marijuana operation at 72 Open Buckle Road in Vaughn for Great Northern Naturals LLC.

In December 2021, Brass had requested county planning staff to see if there was a prior location/conformance permit for the property, which is owned by Sharon Klundt.

City developing rules for marijuana should voters opt to allow it in city limits

Staff notified Brass that there were no permits for that property and that those permits are required under the county zoning regulations.

In January 2022, Brass submitted a location/conformance permit application to the county planning office without the fee for growing cannabis.

In the application, the project was described as “continue to use the property as a cannabis grow as I was advised by the planning department in 2010 also again in 2015/2016 as a conforming allowable use.”

County attorney holds that petition required to send marijuana question to ballot

In March, planning staff asked Brass to submit a use statement form since marijuana cultivation is a commercial use on the property and his location/conformance permit application was insufficient, according to staff.

On March 28, the county issued a formal notice of violation of the zoning regulations and ordered the marijuana operation to cease and desist “on the grounds that marijuana cultivation operation is not allowed in the Mixed-Use 20 district and is only permitted in the heavy industrial district,” according to county staff.

In April, Brass appealed the decision.

During the meeting, Brass said that he had been told the marijuana operation was a conforming the use, but planning staff said a permit would have been required and none was on file.

County approves recreational marijuana in heavy industrial districts

John Harding, the ZBOA board chair, said during the meeting that there was no evidence that the marijuana use of the property was ever in compliance with the county zoning regulations.

“I don’t see anything to tell us that we could do anything different,” he said.

Katie Hanning, ZBOA member, said “I don’t think you can claim grandfather when you don’t have anything in writing.”