The Carson City Planning Commission ran in to a brick wall of angry neighbors this week when they found out that the city was trying to build a view-killing 20-foot high water pump station on the backside of their homes – blocking their views of the Virginia Range. Part of the Long Ranch community lies between Kings and Ash Canyon Creeks and the city wants to build a water booster pump station just on the other side of the neighbors’ fence line.
Neighbors complained that they had heard there was a booster station planned for the area, but they assumed it would be built primarily underground as other booster stations in the area. So when they found out that the pump station building was going to be nearly 20 feet high with an engine muffler exhaust pipe coming out the top, they drew the line. One family complained that city officials were not completely transparent about their plans because the location of the pump station was not clearly indicated. So when a last minute site-plan was announced, it took everyone by surprise on the final location and the fact that their scenic views would be obscured.
The planning commission seemed a little taken-a-back as well. The commissioners told city staff to go back to the drawing board and reduce the size of the building. Instead of a nearly 20 foot high structure, commissioners said 15 feet ought to be the limit and that the station’s muffler should be downsized as well.
Public Works and Planning staff obviously got the message and said they would return in the near future with a scaled down version.
The Planning Commission also had another controversial issue to settle – where to grow hemp – which is marijuana without high levels of the psychotropic ingredient THC. Hemp is used for a lot of things around the world, like paper, rope, clothing, plastics, even paint.
But a wrinkle has erupted in Carson City as a great deal of interest is rising in growing hemp and refining it for manufactured products as mentioned above. Trouble is, sizeable fields of hemp give off the same pungent “aroma” as regular marijuana plants. And that’s why hemp is usually grown far away from inhabited areas or inside large industrial buildings.
But there are some adventurous hemp growers, even marijuana growers, who want to grow their “crops” close to town so they can keep an eye on them. But of course, if the neighbors get a whiff of what’s going on, they may not like it and complain to authorities.
The strong aroma of young marijuana and hemp is not universally welcomed as the scent drifts into nearby neighborhoods. But with air-tight indoor “grows”, the aroma stays with the plants – which brings us to why local laws encourage growing the weed indoors.
As a result, the Planning Commission voted to ask the Carson City Board of Supervisors to draw up a new city law that basically outlaws “outdoor” grows of both marijuana and hemp. Once harvested, both varieties lose their pungent aroma. The commissioners therefore kicked the issue upstairs to let the Supervisors handle things – which will likely ensure that all marijuana and hemp are grown either inside large warehouses or in a location far, far away from human habitation.
We’ll see what the Supervisors come up with.