Basalt’s newest pot shops aim for May 1 opening | AspenTimes.com

Basalt’s newest pot shops aim for May 1 opening

Basalt's newest marijuana purveyor aims to open shop on Midland Avenue on May 1.

Jack Pease plans to open both a recreational marijuana operation and a medical marijuana operation at 174 Midland Ave. His plan advanced Tuesday evening when the Basalt Town Council voted 3-0 to transfer licenses for the pot shops from Norm and Laura Clasen to Pease.

The Clasens obtained the licenses last year but never opened the shops. Pease's company, Neat Things LLC, is already remodeling the ground floor space in the Three Bears Building, which is owned by the Clasens. He plans to operate as Aspen Valley Station.

Lauren Maytin, Pease's attorney, described her client as a dedicated businessman in his 70s who got into the marijuana business when his wife was diagnosed with terminal cancer some years ago.

"You couldn't ask for a better owner to be in our valley," Maytin said.

His wife died a little more than one year ago.

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"So Jack carries on providing a good product to good people," Maytin said.

Basalt has two retail and two medical marijuana licenses available, but Roots Rx is the only store of any type operating in the town. The retail operation is open at 165 Southside Drive.

The council approved a license in September for Down Valley HYH LLC for a medical marijuana operation at 175 Midland Ave., but it hasn't opened.

Pease tried to get established in 2016. He planned to buy the Three Bears Building and open a marijuana shop. Basalt's regulations at that time didn't allow pot shops on the main drag. He also was hampered by a rule that prohibited pot shops within 500 feet of parks. Both regulations were eased but not before Pease gave up in frustration with the red tape.

On Tuesday, the transfer of the licenses was approved by Mayor Jacque Whitsitt and Councilmen Mark Kittle and Gary Tennenbaum. Councilwomen Katie Schwoerer and Jennifer Riffle abstained.

In other council action Tuesday:

The council voted 5-0 to approve a contract with Myers & Co. for fabrication and installation of a Basalt Avenue Entrance sign south of Highway 82. Myers & Co. submitted the low bid of $35,226. The town had budgeted $45,000 for the project. The sign is 18 feet long and 8 feet tall. It will say "Basalt Business Center" and "Southside."

The council voted 5-0 to approve the first reading of an ordinance approving construction of three residential units on the second story of an existing industrial building at 11 Duroux Lane. The owner plans to build two two-bedroom units at 1,040 square feet each and one one-bedroom unit at 580 square feet. A second reading is needed before final approval.

The council voted 5-0 to approve first reading of an ordinance that will allow retirees to live in 12 units Pitkin County is building in the Basalt Vista affordable housing project by Basalt High School. Aspen-Pitkin County Housing Authority regulations allow retirees to live in units. Basalt's regulations require retirees to live in affordable housing only if they perform a certain number of volunteer hours for a nonprofit per year. The council waived the requirement since the Aspen-Pitkin County Housing Authority will manage the 12 units. Basalt Vista also has 15 units that will be owned by Roaring Fork School District. The school district will force owners to sell their units upon retirement.

scondon@aspentimes.com