Pitkin County pot grows approved again after lack of complaints
Two marijuana cultivation operations reapproved Wednesday by Pitkin County commissioners won’t have to appear in front of the board for reapproval again unless issues or complaints arise.
Neither grow operation — one in the Snowmass/Basalt area and the other in the Carbondale area — garnered even one complaint in the year since commissioners approved them last year, said Jeanette Jones, the board’s clerk. That prompted the county board to OK administrative approvals in the future as long as nothing problematic arises.
“I’m fine with that,” said Commissioner George Newman, who has previously voiced concerns about marijuana operations in Pitkin County.
The first facility approved Wednesday was the grow operation associated with the Stash dispensary located near City Market in Aspen. It was the third renewal for the facility, which grows marijuana indoors as well as outdoors during the summer months.
Commissioners allowed owners Garrett and Shawna Patrick to grow plants outdoors two years ago, and authorized as many as 900 outdoor plants last year. Garrett Patrick said he wasn’t able to grow that many last summer because he was sidelined with injuries from a motorcycle accident, though the facility doubled the 2016 number of 220 outdoor plants.
A site visit Tuesday by county officials turned up minor issues with fire-suppression systems, which Garrett Patrick said will be cleared up within 30 days. Beyond that, new state Marijuana Enforcement Division rules that go into effect next year require motion sensors every 20 feet along the fence surrounding the property, which will be installed by this summer, Garrett Patrick said.
The second grow facility near Carbondale is much smaller, with a capacity of about 300 plants in a converted residential home initially operated by Silverpeak dispensary owner Jordan Lewis.
County officials also visited that site Tuesday and requested that owners install emergency exit signs that remain illuminated if the power goes out, Jones said.
Facility co-owner Jeremy Morris also said he wants to move a 3,000 gallon water tank from his home to the grow facility. Such a move will reduce the number of water trips to the site from about 98 a year to 12, he said.
Moving the tank and reinstalling it would require land-use approvals from the county’s Community Development Department, said Kurt Dahl, the county’s environmental health director.
Morris said he would obtain the necessary approvals, install the emergency lights and also label water tanks in case emergency responders ever have to visit the property.
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The Wheeler Opera House will remain dark into 2021, with current COVID-19 public health orders in place. Meanwhile, the masonry work on the exterior of the building will continue into July.