Letter: Concerned about greenhouses’ size, not their product
Concerned about greenhouses’ size, not their product
Pitkin County commissioners,
My wife and I built our home at 4076 Lower River Road in 2004. The primary consideration for us in selecting this location was and still is the rural nature of Lower River Road in Snowmass Canyon. We both attended the last county commissioners meeting but did not speak. It should be noted that neither of us has attended a meeting before.
While we are not against the legalization of marijuana, we are both strongly opposed to the applicant’s request to build the first of many large greenhouses on both sides of Lower River Road. This is not an issue of what is proposed to be cultivated, rather this is a land-use issue that will forever change the character of Snowmass Canyon.
It was fascinating to watch and listen to the public comment at the last commissioners meeting. It seems to me that it is now politically incorrect to object to anything relating to marijuana and the simple inference that anyone objecting to a variance request is somehow painted as “anti-pot.” I find it contemptible that a renter would actively solicit a variance that would alter the neighborhood over the objections of the neighbors.
The “Colorado green rush” is on. As was stated by several people at the meeting, the development of public policy is sorely lagging behind the Jan. 1 deadline when marijuana
becomes legal in Colorado. Many entrepreneurs are simply trying to beat the regulations that are sure to follow.
It should not matter whether pot or roses are proposed to be grown in the greenhouses. What should matter is that the structures are too large and out of character with the neighborhood.
This applicant has acknowledged that these two greenhouses, with a combined size of 2O,000 square feet, are just the beginning. Phase one will be completely visible from upvalley and downvalley traffic on Highway 82, as well as the Rio Grande Trail. Phase two is another 20,000 square feet to be located in open pastures across Lower River Road.
Is 40,000 square feet of greenhouses really in character with the open space along Lower River Road? If you approve this application, it will likely attract other commercial growers and before you know it, both sides of Lower River Road will be covered with greenhouses.
Final thought, if you approve this, it would be a hypocritical slap in the face to all of the property owners along Lower River Road who have been forced for decades to play by the county’s strict land-use rules pertaining to development of their own homes and properties. I would be subject to more scrutiny and a likely denial by the county if I applied for an additional bathroom or requested more square footage for my home.
Please do not approve this application.
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Editor’s note: This letter was directed to Aspen City Council and Mayor Torre.