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BOT approves dispensary plan on West Main

Locations: News Published

On Tuesday, Oct. 11, the Carbondale board of trustees met to discuss both a land use application for a potential recreational dispensary on West Main Street as well as the 2023 board budget.

The meeting opened introducing the first round of “students of the month” for the 2022-23 school year. The Sopris Sun congratulates each one of them for their hard work.

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 Furthermore, in the opening remarks, board member Lani Kitching wished to alert valley residents to the rise in bear reports. Kitching stated that in the area extending from Aspen to Glenwood Springs, there’ve already been 403 bear calls, up from 224 last year. Furthermore, trash is the number one attractant for these incidents and, as Kitching stated, the onus of responsibility is on the personal behavior of valley residents and tourists.

The meeting then moved into a public hearing on a three-part land use application made by Denver-based Pioneer Interests LLC (PI) for a potential 2,400 square foot recreational cannabis dispensary on West Main. The dispensary, part of PI’s chain of LOVA Canna Co dispensaries, would be constructed just beside the 7-11, near the corner of the Highway 133 and Main Street roundabout, where an old building currently sits. 

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On Aug. 11, the planning and zoning commission reviewed and denied the combined application, composed of a minor site plan, conditional use application and an alternative compliance request. The latter two parts of the application were necessary due to the unusual shape of the property and the restrictions of its parking lot as they corresponded with requirements set forth in Carbondale’s Comprehensive Plan and Unified Development Code (UDC), which generally support pedestrian and bike-accessible design, especially along Main. However, the application was denied, citing that the proposal was not consistent with the UDC or comprehensive plan, specifically for the lack of a public entrance on West Main and traffic concerns. On Aug. 18, the application was appealed to the board of trustees for review, which then had final say on the matter.

Since August 18, PI’s plan has been slightly altered. Designed by Sopris Engineering, a publicly accessible entrance on West Main has been integrated into the building design, and the parking lot area has been modified and increased both to better fit UDC requirements and to exceed the required amount of landscaping by 5%. What has not changed is the storage container-esque, upcycled design of the building. Representative of PI Matthew Shifrin emphasized the company’s keen interest in starting business in the valley, citing his growing up in Missouri Heights and PI’s focus on cultivating a tightly knit, cannabis-informed community.

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The application in the meeting was met with concerns, primarily with traffic and public safety. The potential parking lot would be accessed by an already existing easement between West Main and Highway 133 which loops behind the 7-11, but currently serves little use besides an indistinctly marked parking lot for both the gas station and the ReMax business next door. The concern being the possible risk posed by creating a traffic path through what is normally considered a parking lot, especially at an already busy roundabout. Plus, with the addition of a second publicly accessible entrance, there were concerns that LOVA may experience an undue burden staffing both doors with employees to properly ID customers. 

However, under the condition that the Main Street entrance be accessible and functional during operational hours and improvements be made around the easement to clarify the traffic path (curbs, paint, etcetera), the application was approved. The motion was first made by Erica Sparhawk and seconded by Kitching and passed by a 5-1 vote, member Chris Hassig voting against and member Luis Yllanes not present at the meeting.

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Tags: #Carbondale Report #dispensary #LOVA Canna Co #Will Buzzerd
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