Pubdate: Thu, 02 Nov 2017
Source: Delhi News-Record, The (CN ON)
Copyright: 2017 Sun Media
Author: Jacob Robinson
Page: A1


A vegetable farmer looking to sell a piece of land has been put in a
bind as Norfolk council looks at rules for marijuana grow operations.

Bill Nightingale Jr. of Nightingale Farms, a large scale producer of
asparagus, beans, peppers among other crops, built a greenhouse on 215
Windham Road 10 North, Delhi last year with the aim of growing organic

Hydro prices increased to the point the facility was no longer viable
so the operation applied for a farm split that would allow the sale of
7.9 acres of land, which includes the new 2.9-acre greenhouse and a
single-detached dwelling. The package is listed for $3 million.

The MLS listing states the facility could be used for "future growing
and expansion of medical marijuana, once licensed through the
government". Council has been fielding complaints of pungent smells
stemming from small growing operations locally. They've asked staff to
look into what it has the authority to do, and what it can't control
under its current bylaws. The report is expected back in the coming
weeks, so a decision on the Nightingale farm split was deferred until
that time.

"It remains within the realm of possibility that the new owner could
be licensed to be a designated grower of medical marijuana ... when
recreational marijuana is legalized in July of 2018, it's really not a
stretch to say that this facility could possibly be used for that
purpose," said Ed Dertinger, who lives about 60 metres from the greenhouse.

Dertinger told council on Tuesday last week that he worries not only
about the smell, but a constant glow of light that would shine on his
house at all hours, diminishing his property value.

"It (the smell) is going to be outside and inside our house, possibly
for the rest of our lives if this goes through as a marijuana
facility," he said.

"I just don't want to live like that."

Simcoe Coun. Doug Brunton agreed with those concerns.

"He's got a good point," said Brunton. "He's 60 metres from (the
greenhouse) and it's marijuana, I don't care how they grow it or what
the kind is, he's going to suffer."

Brunton did suggest the Nightingale operation could legally lease the
property if it cannot be sold.

Allowing the split pending a site plan approval was raised but staff
advised that council can't strictly prohibit the growth of a crop
within the county.

Simcoe Coun. Peter Black said waiting for the staff report on
marijuana regulations is "the responsible thing for us to do".

The decision to defer - which passed 5-3 with Brunton, John Wells and
Noel Haydt voting against - has put the Nightingale business in peril,
said Bill Nightingale Jr.

As hydro prices rose, Nightingale was told he's unable to apply for
class-A buying, which equates to half price hydro, because the
operation is too small.

"I don't want to spend $10 million to get to that size," Nightingale
said. "Now I'm selling it hoping that someone wants it and because the
word marijuana is used they're denying me of that. Now I don't know
how I'm going to pay my bills."

Nightingale Farms utilizes about 1,500 acres and employes upwards of
300 people at peak season. Nightingale Jr. said he plans to appeal the
decision with the Ontario Municipal Board.

"I can't wait, I need to pay my bills," he said.
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