Rifle could see marijuana grow operation expansion, new apartment complex
Rifle could soon see the expansion of a marijuana grow business as well as construction of additional apartment units.
The Rifle Planning and Zoning Commission unanimously approved Tuesday recommendations for city council to consider a conditional use permit and a zone change for two applicants.
City council will now decide whether to approve a conditional use permit for a local marijuana cultivation site looking to expand its operation south of Interstate 70 as well as a zone change for a developer looking to transform a part of a building occupied by a church and a real estate office into a new apartment complex.
Green Medicine LLC owner Dan Sullivan requested that the Rifle Planning and Zoning Commission recommend to city council that they allow his marijuaina cultivation site to expand. The addition could bring in as much as $75,000 more in annual tax revenues to the city, Sullivan said.
Located in a light industrial zone south of Interstate 70, the site, which cultivates marijuana for The Green Joint dispensaries throughout the area, will attach a 608 square foot greenhouse to an existing warehouse.
“We’re looking to increase capacity to grow and cultivate cannabis,” Sullivan said. “… We’re not looking to increase production but we’re looking to increase our green factor.”
Instead of using “high energy,” Sullivan said the greenhouse will allow cultivation to be produced using natural, ambient sunlight.
The current facility, which was first approved for a conditional use permit in 2013 to cultivate medical marijuana, uses growing lights and climate control systems. A greenhouse, which would add 7,000 square feet of cultivation area to the existing structure, would use just 33% of all electricity and add 4-6 fulltime jobs to the area, according to documents submitted by Green Medicine to the city.
“This seems like the right thing to do – the green thing to do,” Sullivan said.
The greenhouse itself would be enveloped by polycarbonate sheets, which are translucent in nature and would make cultivation invisible from the outside, Sullivan said.
In regards to security, Sullivan said over 7 years there haven’t been any break ins.
“We have a very positive relationship with first responders,” he said.
An applicant looking to transform a vacant floor of a building on North Railroad Avenue into apartments was approved for a zone change recommendation by the Rifle Planning and Zoning commission.
The commission now recommends to Rifle City Council that they rezone the area, currently light industrial, to a community service zone district. The zone change will allow for residential development to coincide with commercial enterprises.
The applicant, Juan Folis of Carbondale, told the commission that in the past he did intend to purchase the property from owner Neil Ross to render it into a commercial enterprise; however, COVID-19 changed his decision.
“It never happened because nobody’s interested in commercial right now,” he said.
Although there was no count available as to how many units will be constructed, Ross said the current parking lot does include 27 spaces, which should be a rough reflection as to how many units will be made available.
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