Silt marijuana operation will seek new grow site

Heidi Rice
High Q owner Renee Grossman and director of operations Clint Larsen inform the crowd at Monday's Silt Town Council meeting of their intentions for the grow facility.
Colleen O’Neil / Post Independent |

SILT — Shot down in their plan for a marijuana growing operation despite approval from the town’s planning and zoning commission, the operators of a recreational pot shop in Silt will look for another grow site.

“We still want to build, but we’re just not sure if the town of Silt wants it,” said Renee Grossman, a managing member of High Q LLC, who also complained about mixed signals from Silt officials.

The Silt Town Board, at a meeting Monday attended by more than 200 residents, voted 7-0 to reject the proposed grow facility, a two-story, 20,000-square-foot plant and greenhouse operation on the northern end of a 7.55-acre parcel of land zoned for agricultural use but nestled between two subdivisions.

“It’s unclear what the town government wants,” Grossman told the Post Independent. “It was frustrating for us because the town of Silt directed us one way and voted another.”

Mayor Rick Aluise said the council was swayed not just by the number of people but by the number of people who showed up Monday who would have been directly affected by the operation.

“Those are the ones who carry the weight,” he said.

“This was a special use permit, not a use by right,” the mayor said. “The board chose not to approve it and the turnout was overwhelmingly opposed at this location — that’s why we voted against it.”

High Q, which has a retail marijuana shop on Main Street in Silt, wanted to use land that is surrounded by the Eagle’s View and Stoney Ridge subdivisions.

After some neighbors received certified letters informing them of the plan, they organized quickly against the operation, citing concerns about light pollution, noise, odor and traffic.

“It’s a legal business and the majority of the comments were unfounded,” Grossman said. “They didn’t want it there, but we’ve been approached by lots of folks who do.”

Aluise said the zoning commission “is only an advisory board. It depends on where (the grow operation) is located and whether the neighbors are comfortable with the location. We decided not to make it a use by right, and the reason was that we knew growth facilities are a bird of a different color from retail operations.

“My opinion is that the growth of marijuana is a more intense use,” Aluise told the PI on Wednesday. “You have to water and attend the plants. There are concerns about the odor and impacts from greenhousing marijuana.”

High Q’s proposal wasn’t the only special-use permit for marijuana cultivation denied Monday night.

Aurum Peak LLC also was seeking a permit for a retail marijuana cultivation facility at 670 Front St., which is currently operated as Eurostyle Woodworking, east of Gold Ring Pawn and an empty lot and across the alley of the Burning Mountain Fire Department.

The town board voted 4-3 against issuing that special use permit, with Aluise and Trustees Jeff LaValla, Aron Diaz and Keith Richel voting in opposition and Trustees Dylan Lewis, Sonny Fernandez and Bryan Fleming voting in favor.

About 20 people, both for and against the Aurum proposal, showed up for that hearing, which followed High Q on the board’s agenda.

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