News | Agriculture

The Columbian: Marijuana Grow Could Sprout In A B.G. Building

the_columbian | Jan. 12, 2014 7 p.m. | Updated: Jan. 13, 2014 11:07 a.m. | Battle Ground, Washington

Contributed By:

Tyler Graf / Columbian staff writer

A Battle Ground developer has filed an application to build what could become one of the county’s first legal marijuana grow operations.

Dennis Pavlina, principal of the Gold Medal Group and developer of Battle Ground Village, filed paperwork on behalf of an outside brokerage group to develop an 18,000-square-foot building at 1618 S.E. Commerce Ave. The 1.02-acre property, which Pavlina owns, is zoned light industrial and appears to meet the state’s requirements for growing marijuana, approved by voters in 2012.

No deal is in place, Pavlina said, as the currently unnamed ownership group is awaiting approval from the Washington Liquor Control Board. Pavlina said he plans to sell the land if the state signs off on the group’s application.

“Right now, I’m just getting land approved for this use,” Pavlina said.

The newfound interest in the property came as a surprise to Pavlina, who said he didn’t know it was possible to build a marijuana facility there until he received interest from the group. It would become the first parcel of land Pavlina has sold in roughly a decade, he said.

Robert Maul, the city’s community development director, said he’d been in talks with representatives from the group for several months.

“This particular application was expected,” he said.

One reason is — though pot is now legal in the state, with a framework in place for where it can be processed and sold — there’s currently a dearth of suitable locations in Clark County.

Battle Ground is the only jurisdiction in the county not to have passed a temporary moratorium on marijuana-related facilities. Ridgefield, Camas, Washougal and Clark County passed moratoriums on growing and selling pot at the end of 2013. Vancouver’s temporary ban covers retail sales but not grow operations.

Initiative 502, which legalized possession of up to 1 ounce of marijuana for adults ages 21 and older, was approved by voters in 2012.

In 2013, the liquor control board capped the maximum number of pot shops in Clark County at 15. Under the state’s guidelines, Battle Ground was allowed one.

Because Maul has already vetted the application, Battle Ground can’t retroactively ban it from taking shape.

The prospective owners have told Maul they expect to hire 30 to 50 people, he said.

Tyler Graf: 360-735-4517; www.twitter.com/col_smallcities; tyler.graf@columbian.com.

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