A Secrest Hill Road property is being considered for the development of a medical cannabis production facility.
The regional district has received a development variance permit application from the Casorso family at 164 Secrest Hill Road. They seek to vary the maximum parcel coverage in the Agricultural 2 Zone to accommodate the facility.
If the proposed variance is not successful, the owners (David and Wanda Casorso) will proceed with a greenhouse option for growing. They noted the variance does not defeat the zoning bylaw because the building will be used directly for agriculture.
The property is about 6.7 hectares on the east side of Secrest Hill Road, approximately 4.5 kilometres north of the Town of Oliver.
Regional planner Emily Williamson said the surrounding pattern of development in the area is mostly agricultural. She noted there is a low-density residential subdivision to the south of the subject property, which is within the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR).
Williamson said the production of marijuana in accordance with the Marijuana for Medical Purposes Regulations is a permitted farm use within the ALR.
As per Health Canada regulations, cannabis must be grown indoors, the planner pointed out.
Based on the owners’ desired yield of 30,000 kilograms of cannabis per year, the applicant estimates that either a 12,000 square metre growing facility or a 44,600 square metre greenhouse is required. Adjacent property owners have been notified about the proposal.
Williamson said if the owners were to pursue the alternate option of growing the cannabis in a greenhouse, the building footprint would be larger than an indoor growing building.
“Administration does not anticipate the requested variance will have negative impacts on the use of other adjoining properties,” the planner said.