Marijuana and the Rural Residential Zone

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.

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 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 held three meetings (see below) on the topic of allowing recreational marijuana growing operations in the RR Zone. The following is a summary of the concerns expressed by community-members (up to November 1st, 2016):

  • 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
  • Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC) rules & 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).

Meetings/Events that took place during this process
  • Results and Next Steps Meeting, held on 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, held on 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, held on Tuesday, September 6, 2016 from 5:30 P.M. in the Benton County Sunset Building, 4077 SW Research Way, Corvallis.
    • Presentation slides and meeting minutes can be found below under Supporting Documents.