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Phoenix neighbors protest 20-acre medical marijuana cultivation center

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Residents of a North Phoenix neighborhood on Thursday lost a battle to prevent a 20-acre medical-marijuana cultivation facility from moving onto a lot near them.

But they vowed to keep fighting.

Dozens of people, many wearing red clothing and “No!” stickers, left the Board of Adjustment meeting at the Phoenix City Council chambers disappointed and angry. The board voted 3-2 to allowed the project to proceed by denying the appeal of an earlier decision.

“It’s not over,” said Mike McCrery, a business owner who led the appeal. “There’s still another opportunity for us to have it overturned.”

On Dec. 18, a Phoenix zoning administrator granted a use permit and zoning variance to Tryke Companies. The approval will allow the company to build the facility within 1,000 feet of a Phoenix neighborhood near 16th street and Deer Valley Road.

A city ordinance states that medical marijuana cultivation or infusion facilities aren’t allowed within 1,000 feet of residential areas. In this case, 98 homes fall within that distance, so the company needed a variance.

But residents said they weren’t adequately informed of the Dec. 18 hearing, and they would have voiced opposition if they had the chance.

Resident Dan Pratt said the neighborhood isn’t the right spot for the marijuana facility, and he pointed to the strong opposition.

“Look at the number of people in there that live in those 98 homes – or that have businesses next to it – that are trying to voice their concerns,” Pratt said.

Residents also told the board that they worried about potential crime the facility would attract, the vast size of the project, possible odor and the fear of decreased property values.

Several residents left the chambers yelling, “this is far from over” and “we’ll see you in court!”

The neighbors can request that the Board of Adjustment reconsider the issue by submitting paperwork before the board’s next meeting, said Alan Stephenson, Phoenix planning and development director. If the board decides against revisiting the issue, the neighbors could take the case to Maricopa County Superior Court, he said.

Attorney Adam Baugh, who represents Tryke Companies, told the board the facility will have several safety measures.

They will install block walls surrounding the facility, have video monitoring and will hire security officers around the clock.

Desert land surrounds the parcel and a canal separates it from the neighborhood.