Application pulled on indoor marijuana grow in Ashland Historic District

Plexis owner Jorge Yant says he pulled the company's application for the indoor marijuana grow in response to the community's opposition. (Genevieve Grippo/KTVL)

For over a year, the old Oak Street Tank and Steel building located in Ashland's Railroad District held an uncertain future.

The 6,000 square foot building has been owned by healthcare software company Plexis since 2007, and remained empty after the company relocated to Medford more than a year ago.

When word let out that Plexis owner Jorge Yant submitted an application to turn part of the building into an indoor marijuana grow, concern from the community surged.

"I understand our neighbors' concerns," said Leif Trygs, a resident of the historic neighborhood. "Their concerns about property value, I think that's the main thing. Concerns that, 'is this going to create an image for the neighborhood?' Also, the smell."

Minutes from the Ashland Planning Commission's meeting in December revealed several public testimonies voicing opposition to the indoor grow. Their concerns ranged from potential problems with smell, preservation of the historic district and water use.

The commission says the planning process also includes a two week period for written public comment, in which the majority of 35 public messages were received.

The vast majority of those messages expressed disapproval for the indoor grow.

"It's always good to know where you stand, especially if what you're doing is trying to do something to help the community, you want to hear from the community," said Yant.

Yant says he pulled the company's application for the indoor marijuana grow in response to the community's opposition.

For him, this was not all about business. He says he wanted to build something that the community benefited from. That's why he's planning on researching the possibility of an indoor grow in more detail, discussing the community's concerns with neighbors.

"We want to be good neighbors. We want to do it the right way, so we pulled that part of the application," said Yant. "We're going to study it further. We're going to talk to neighbors. We're going to figure out whether or not in the long term it makes sense to do it."

He says if a marijuana grow turns out to be the right thing to do for the community in the future, he will revisit the possibility of an indoor grow. In the mean time, Plexis is still moving forward with plans to create a Healing and Thriving Arts Center in the building.

That would include an herbal apothecary, hemp retail store and performance venue. If everything goes as planned, Yant says the center could open in the middle of June.

"Whatever it is that we do in that building has to be in keeping with doing the right thing for the community as a whole."

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