After a shaky start to the rezoning process, a local man’s application to house an indoor cannabis facility on his property is growing support within the Regional District of North Okanagan.
The applicant, NPJ Enterprises Ltd., owner Josh Udala, is applying to rezone his property on Rohan Peeters Road, near the Kingfisher Community Hall east of Enderby, in order to create an agricultural cannabis production facility in a building on his property that was constructed in 1979.
His application was discussed at the RDNO’s Electoral Area Advisory Committee meeting Thursday, Feb. 11.
A report from the district’s planning department originally recommended that the proposal not be supported, because the applicant was proposing to use an indoor space with a footprint greater than the 500 square meters allowed for a cannabis facility within the district.
The applicant proposed using only 500 square metres of the existing 853-square-metre building on the property, but did not specify what would be done with the remaining portion of the facility.
The planning department advised that the proposed zoning amendment could be precedent-setting, and may open a loophole for operators of larger facilities to flout the rules.
“If a cannabis production facility of a specific, limited size is established in a larger building, there is potential for the facility to be expanded to fill the space available. Such expansion may occur without authorization and may have health and safety consequences if the space is not constructed and serviced as required for the use,” the information report states.
But ultimately, the advisory committee went with an alternative recommendation to allow the cannabis facility to go ahead in principle, as long as the applicant hires a well driller to conduct a pump test to estimate the yield of the well that would service the facility.
“The applicant reports that there is an existing well on the property however no additional information was provided with respect to the production capacity of the well,” the report states.
Udala must also present a site plan to the board of directors that includes a minimum of 15 parking spaces and two loading spaces.
Final adoption will only be considered once a Land Title Act covenant has been registered on the property that restricts the floor area of agricultural cannabis production to 500 square metres.
The land is located within the Agricultural Land Reserve, where cannabis production is permitted but required to meet certain criteria. One example is a setback requirement of 30 metres from all property lines.
According to the report, the applicant expects to have about 15 employees working at the facility.
The committee’s recommendation will be brought before the board of directors at its next meeting, Feb. 17.