Pitkin County board approves two pot grow facilities
Pitkin County commissioners unanimously voted Wednesday to approve two marijuana grow operations in the downvalley area.
The first — in the Snowmass/Basalt area — belongs to the owners of the Stash marijuana dispensary in Aspen and was essentially a reapproval of an outdoor grow area approved last year on an experimental basis.
The second will be a new indoor grow operation in the Carbondale area, though it will occur in a facility previously used as a grow house by the owner of the Silverpeak dispensary in Aspen.
Stash owners Garrett and Shawna Patrick asked commissioners in June to approve the outdoor grow space at their then-already-permitted indoor facility. At the time, the county board allowed as much as 250 plants to be grown outside in what commissioners termed a “one-year experiment” that could have been terminated if the county received serious odor or other complaints.
Kurt Dahl, Pitkin County’s environmental health manager, said Wednesday that no complaints have been received since June. In fact, he said that county Open Space and Trails crews working on the Rio Grande Trail, which runs close to the grow facility, reported no issues with odors last summer.
Security was a top concern for commissioners and the Patricks last year. On Wednesday, Garrett Patrick said the 8-foot-high fence topped with barbed wire, motion sensors and an array of security cameras appears to have done the trick.
“I feel like the security measures have worked,” he said, noting that he had about 220 plants outside last summer.
For this summer, the Patricks asked to increase the outdoor grow to as much as 900 plants. Garrett Patrick said he doubted that many would be grown outdoors, but said he wanted to be able to place smaller plants outside rather than just the large ones he grew outside last year “to see what works.”
Commissioners — including board Chairman George Newman, who voted against the outdoor grow last year — approved the increased number of plants, but asked the Patricks to be diligent about any odor problems that might arise.
Jeremy Morris, a Crystal River Valley native and the point man for the Carbondale indoor grow operation, said his facility can handle a maximum of 300 plants and he has no plans to expand it. The residential home was previously converted by Silverpeak owner Jordan Lewis to a grow house, which commissioners approved before his operation moved to a larger space.
The facility has the support of neighbors and the Crystal River Caucus, Morris said. It attracted no complaints when Lewis used it, Dahl said.
Morris’ plan is to haul in water, fill a reservoir and water his crop by hand, he said.
“Water-hauling is the most green (option) because of how small we are,” Morris said.
Commissioner Rachel Richards said the plan reminded her of the way some ranchers haul water for cattle. Still, she said she’d like to see Morris and his partner eventually hook up to the well.
“I think this is a reasonable proposal,” she said.
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