A proposed marijuana growing operation at the former Metallics West building at 651 N. Main St. in Mancos drew conflicting comments from residents and trustees Wednesday at the Mancos Board of Trustees meeting.
New Millennium Wholesale, LLC, applied for a special use permit for a recreational marijuana grow facility up to 5,000 square feet at the site, which is zoned light industrial. In the town’s code, a grow facility of up to 2,500 feet is allowed in that zoning. Medicine Man has proposed to enter into a lease agreement with New Millennium to operate the grow facility, according to town records.
The town board approved the special use permit with a 5-1 vote, with Trustee Michele Black voting no. Although the board approved the plans, the company still will need to pursue a license from the state in order to start growing.
According to design plans, only 3,150 square feet would be used for a growing facility. A vegetation room that would nurse plants in their initial stages of cultivation would occupy 875 square feet, said Dean Brookie, the project’s architect. The remaining 975 square feet would be used for offices, trim rooms and break rooms.
The building is 34,176 square feet, but only 5,000 square feet would be devoted to the growing operation, Brookie said. Other spaces in the building potentially would be available for lease to other businesses, he said. The Mancos Water Conservancy District currently occupies two other spaces, which they would continue to lease from the building’s new owner, Brookie added. The owner does not intend to divide the building into condominiums, he said.
Some citizens who spoke at the meeting were opposed, though. Donna Schmittel said she lives on Sunset Avenue just south of the proposed facility. She said she has an allergy to marijuana, and most residents on her street didn’t want a growing facility there.
“We don’t want a pot farm in our backyard,” she said.
Barbara Zeutzius said the building had severe leakage issues. She said two marijuana dispensaries in town was enough.
“Stop putting pot places in town,” she said. “Find something else.”
Other citizens spoke in favor of the development, though. Gina Roberts, a town Planning and Zoning board member, said the operation would improve the property and bring 15 jobs, which the town sorely needs.
“I’m tired of seeing people not have jobs in this town,” she said.
Brookie said the facility would not be growing plants that release pollen. He said the building plans call for air filtration systems that would mitigate odors. The plans also include ten large trees that would provide a landscaping buffer between the building and homes on Sunset Avenue to the south, Brookie added.
“The facility won’t have an impact on the neighborhood,” he said.
The Board of Trustees on Wednesday approved a license renewal for another pot growing operation, The Bud Farm, at 385 N. Willow St. Business owner Jim Cody said he had installed an ozone generator and other air filtration systems at his facility to address odor concerns. Trustee Michele Black thanked Cody for making those adjustments.
“We look at it as a privilege, not a right, to do what we’re doing,” Cody said.
Also Tuesday, the board approved a construction plan for a U.S. Hwy 160 pedestrian crossing near Beech Street. The plan includes a 20-inch center median, sidewalk connections and pedestrian islands on the north and south side of the highway, as well as accommodations for a future bike lane. Construction costs will be $260,000 for the plan.
Clerk-treasurer Heather Alvarez said she will apply for grants from the state Department of Local Affairs and the federal Transportation Alternatives Program in hopes of funding most of the project. If the town secures both those grants, the town will pay just under $67,000 for the construction.
The design option the board approved is about $36,000 more expensive than a second scaled-back option, but Trustee Queenie Barz said the higher price for a more effective crossing was justified.
“As the town grows on the north side, people are moving back and forth and we need to make sure they are safe,” Barz said.
The board also approved on Wednesday a development agreement for the proposed Riverwood RV Park at 350 E. Grand Ave. The plan for the park includes 68 spaces for RV hookups in town.
Some citizens weighed in on the issue, saying creation of the park would draw visitors to town who would spend money at Mancos restaurants and shops.
Citizen Ed Hallam said he lives directly across from the development and would like to see minimal impact to trees on the property. Hallam also raised concerns about how the town water and sewer lines would be able to handle increased volume from the park.
Project developers said they would try not to remove as many trees as they could and planned to plant more trees in the park. Mancos public works director Robin Schmittel said he did not anticipate that the development would create any problems with the water or sewer systems.
Also Wednesday, the Board approved a subdivision and rezone for a 0.7-acre property at 40781 U.S. Hwy 160. The tract will be rezoned from mixed-use residential to highway business zoning to allow for a laundromat.