Without a confirmed odor complaint for nearly a year, Pitkin County commissioners reduced the burden Wednesday on the owner of a commercial pot farm near Basalt.
Jordan Lewis, owner of High Valley Farms, will no longer have to meet with commissioners four times a year about possible marijuana odors coming from his facility located across Highway 82 from the Holland Hills neighborhood. Instead, Lewis will have to come before the board once a year for renewal of his license during a public hearing.
In addition, Lewis will only have to pay for an odor monitor to check his farm four times a month. Lewis said hes been paying $20,000 a year for the monitor to come out to his farm nine times a month per rules laid down a little less than a year ago by commissioners.
However, if issues related to High Valley Farms arise, commissioners can call a special meeting on the subject.
Lewis, the owner of Silverpeak Apothecary marijuana dispensary in Aspen, had to mitigate serious marijuana odors last summer after angry neighbors voiced complaints. He installed carbon filters, which appear to have solved the problem.
Kurt Dahl, head of the countys Environmental Health Department, recommended to commissioners that the odor monitoring be discontinued altogether. The recommendation was based on nearly a years worth of data indicating no odors have seeped out of the facility, he said.
I did not believe that was going to change, Dahl said.
Commissioner Michael Owsley said he thought the monitoring should continue, if only to be able to exonerate Lewis in the event the source of an odor comes from another grow in the area. Commissioner George Newman also wanted the monitoring to continue.
This is a commitment we made to the neighbors, Newman said. Frankly, its the cost of doing business.
Commissioner Steve Child suggested Dahl find out how much it would cost the county to contract with an odor monitor to track down the source of odors not coming from High Valley Farms. Lewis suggested at a commissioner meeting in June that most of the marijuana odors in the area were coming from outdoor grows in Holland Hills.