Marijuana industry mushrooming in Basalt, midvalley
Ryan Summerlin January 7, 2015
After a slow start, the marijuana industry appears to be budding in the midvalley.
A family in Missouri Heights has applied to build a marijuana cultivation facility on secluded property located off Upper Cattle Creek Drive. The Roaring Fork Regional Planning and Zoning Commission voted unanimously July 3 to recommend approval. The Eagle County commissioners will review the application Tuesday at a hearing in El Jebel.
Meanwhile, Basalt has received one application for a recreational sales operation and two applications for medical marijuana shops. A third application for a medical marijuana facility is expected soon, according to Town Manager Mike Scanlon.
Basalt recently lifted moratoriums on applications for medical and recreational pot shops. One medical marijuana shop opened briefly before the moratorium went into effect, and then it lost its lease. Basalt is unlikely to see a flood of applications because only two licenses are available each for recreational and medical marijuana shops. In addition, the town government severely restricted where pot shops can operate.
“The greenhouse facility is designed to accommodate any crop that has value and can support a business. It is intended as a marijuana cultivation facility, though as demand changes, so may the species of crop.”
Application for cultivation facility
Pleasant Valley pot
The Alexander Co. applied to build four greenhouses in the Pleasant Valley subdivision, according to its application. Each facility would be 24 by 72 feet, producing a total of 6,912 square feet of facilities.
The site is about 8 miles from El Jebel and Highway 82. The nearest neighbor is about half a mile away. The rural setting makes it ideal for a cultivation facility, according to the application.
“The overall operations plan and site design will minimize effects on neighbors and future land uses,” the application said. “The rural nature of this facility location minimizes conflicts of appearance, smell, proximity to other businesses, schools and public spaces.”
Most of the residential lots in the area of the proposed facility haven’t been developed yet, the application said. The greenhouses will be built in a way to screen them from the adjacent home lots.
The Alexander Co. has been a grower and provider of annual and perennial plants for over 10 years, the application said. Josh and Natalie Alexander want to expand the business.
“The greenhouse facility is designed to accommodate any crop that has value and can support a business,” the application said. “It is intended as a marijuana cultivation facility, though as demand changes, so may the species of crop.”
The Alexanders’ application said there are three proficient horticulturists in their family and that three additional ones will be hired, for a total of six employees. Daily harvesting and batching of the harvest will limit the total number of employees required, according to the Alexanders. The company will operate as “an optional premise cultivation site for Durango Organics,” the application said.
A website called Durango Chronic said Durango Organics is a medical marijuana shop that provides more than 30 strains by “delicious edibles and sweets prepared by talented chefs.”
First facility in unincorporated county
No members of the public spoke during the hearing held July 3 by the Roaring Fork Regional Planning and Zoning Commission. The county commissioners are holding their hearing at the Eagle County building in El Jebel at 3:15 p.m. Tuesday.
If the facility is approved, Alexander Co. intends to build the four structures as soon as possible, the application said.
The staff review of the application indicated the Alexander Co. proposal is the first of its kind in unincorporated Eagle County.
Aspen businessman Jordan Lewis is building a greenhouse east of Basalt, across Highway 82 from Holland Hills, but that’s in Pitkin County. The county commissioners approved the structure. Lewis must apply for a marijuana cultivation license.
Basalt pot shops
Basalt was one of two towns in the Roaring Fork Valley that had a prohibition on pot shops, along with Snowmass Village. Aspen, Carbondale and Glenwood Springs allowed recreational operations to open soon after they became legal on Jan. 1. The Basalt Town Council and staff worked to get regulations in place and then lifted the moratoriums.
Scanlon said he considers the two existing applications for medical marijuana shops incomplete because they don’t include the addresses of where they plan to open.
“I don’t have an official application until I have an address,” he said.
Basalt’s regulations place applications for medical marijuana operations ahead in the line for review over recreational operations, Scanlon said. But right now, that point is invalid because the medical marijuana applications are incomplete.
The recreational outlet wants to open at 165 Southside Drive in Basalt. The applicant, RFSCB LLC, plans to rent the space, the application said. The business will be named Roots Rx, according to the application.
Basalt’s process requires a public hearing before the Town Council for review of a marijuana business license, just as liquor licenses are considered in a public forum. No hearing is scheduled yet.