Two pot shop applications working through the system
Glenwood Springs City Council took a look at a couple of marijuana shop permit applications at its regular meeting on Oct. 15.
Chris Hawkins of Alpine Planning asked council to determine whether a special use permit application from Kind Castle to open a retail marijuana shop at 2114 Grand Ave. is “substantially” different from a previous application from Kind Castle at the same location.
On June 18, council voted 5-2 to deny the previous application after a 7-0 recommendation for denial from the Planning and Zoning Commission.
City code states that “Following denial of an application, the decision-making body shall not decide on applications that are the same or substantially similar within one year of the previous denial.”
Councilor Charlie Willman, himself a lawyer, asked city attorney Karl Hanlon what “substantial” means.
Hanlon replied, “A substantial and material change to the application is what council determines is a substantial and material change to the application.”
Hawkins’ presentation listed 10 ways in which this application differed from the previous one.
Foremost is the business would occupy all three units of the building, for 2,989 square feet, where the previous application was for retail in one unit for 779 square feet.
Having one tenant addresses concerns expressed during the previous application process, including parking problems, Hawkins said, which Councilor Shelley Kaup said was the reason she voted for denial last time.
Other changes, according to Hawkins, include: the Stinker gas station agreeing to allow shared access between the properties; enhanced odor mitigation; signed affidavits of support from residents living above the business; reduced trips to the property by elimination of the previous barber and frame shops; elimination of the Cedar Lodge pole sign; and a promise from the applicant to spruce up the property within a year of approval.
Haley Carmer of Garfield & Hecht spoke during public comment representing Cedar Lodge Motel. She said that there is nothing materially different in this application, the increased retail space increases the potential for odor issues, and she wasn’t convinced that parking problems are solved.
Mayor Jonathan Godes was concerned about the timing of the application as the Planning and Zoning Commission is reviewing marijuana regulations.
“As long as we received and deemed complete an application … we would process that application even as we’re considering code amendments for this specific use,” city planner Trent Hyatt said.
Councilor Steve Davis said that the application meets the requirements of being materially different.
“There is a substantial change. The substantial change is they are the sole occupant of that facility now, and they will be in complete control of that parking lot,” he said, moving to allow the application to go through the permitting process. Kaup seconded.
Councilor Tony Hershey said he did not see it that way.
“I agree with Haley. … This is the same project, and I don’t see a substantial change,” he said.
The motion passed 4-1 with Hershey opposed. Councilor Paula Stepp was absent.
Martin’s Natural Medicinals
An application for Martin’s Natural Medicinals was fairly straightforward.
Martin’s is proposing to take over a former convenience store at 23 Mel Ray Road after the location of the store on Sixth Street sold.
Hyatt’s presentation demonstrated how the proposed Martin’s Medicinals location meets all review criteria. The Planning and Zoning Commission recommended approval 5-0, and city staff also recommend approval.
With no discussion, council voted unanimously to continue the discussion to the Nov. 5 meeting. City attorney Karl Hanlon explained that this is the procedure for planning items heard remotely to allow the public time to comment should there be problems trying to comment online.
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