CO: Proposed Hygiene Marijuana Operation Gets Boulder County’s Go-Ahead


On a split 2-1 vote, Boulder County’s commissioners on Tuesday approved allowing the owner of a property at 7593 Hygiene Road to proceed toward converting its use into a future indoor marijuana growing facility.

The commissioners’ action, which upheld the Land Use Department’s earlier decision that using the property for a marijuana establishment would meet the applicable requirements in the Land Use Code, came over the objections of two dozen people who testified against it.

“I’m not against marijuana,” said Dan Smith, who lives in the 7000 block of Hygiene’s Rozena Drive, but “this is not the place to produce it.”

Said Smith: “There are places to go in this county, or beyond,” that would be “a reasonable place to put this facility” instead of inside the unincorporated village of Hygiene.

Laura Lichter, who lives in the 12000 block of North 63rd Street, said, “this isn’t a T-shirt factory. Pot stinks… It doesn’t belong in Hygiene.”

Brian Sanders, who lives in the 12000 block of North 75th Street, said, “This industrial-like development does not fit our community,” which he said is now “a mix of agricultural and rural residential.”

Sanders was one of several speakers who identified themselves as parents or grandparents of children attending Hygiene Elementary School and who expressed concerns about permitting a marijuana cultivation and marijuana-infused products manufacturing facility to be located within 1,000 feet of that school.

Others brought up public safety issues, expressing concerns about the potential of fires, explosions and the would-be thieves they warned a marijuana establishment could attract.

This is “not a safe thing for Hygiene,” said Penny Trevithick. She noted that the village doesn’t have its own police department and must rely on the Boulder County Sheriff’s Office for law enforcement and that Hygiene’s is an all-volunteer fire department.

Dan Burkhardt, who owns a number of properties in the area, said, “We love Hygiene, the community. We love the people. We love the history, but we’re ashamed of what’s going on here.”

Burkhardt said if the marijuana facility proposal is allowed to proceed, it will be “an environmental catastrophe.”

Richard and Beverly Loper said they’ve lived in Hygiene about 45 years. Beverly Loper said the marijuana establishment wouldn’t fit in, and Richard said it would be “a discredit to our small farming community.”

Robert Gourley, the owner of the commercially zoned property at 7593 Hygiene Road, and his business partner, Joshua Henningsen, made no formal presentation Tuesday about their proposal to change the property’s present primarily residential use to allow construction and operation of a building where marijuana would be grown and marijuana products made.

“We will be addressing all the issues that anyone has” with the project, Henningsen said after public-hearing testimony concluded.

County commissioners Elise Jones and Deb Gardner voted to uphold the Land Use Department’s conclusion that the application qualified for the use change Gourley and Henningsen had sought, subject to a number of county-staff imposed conditions.

Commissioner Cindy Domenico dissented.

Jones said she agreed that “Hygiene is a special place,” but that Boulder County’s Land Use Code “allows this use, in this place, at this level of intensity.”

Gardner emphasized that she expects the county to be vigilant about monitoring the land-use codes and marijuana-establishment licensing regulations that apply to such an operation, particularly the county’s prohibition against any odors from the facility extending beyond its property line.

Gourley and Henningsen must submit a landscaping plan to help screen the property and match the character of its neighboring properties, as well as an exterior lighting plan.

The proposed marijuana facility’s owners will have to get state and county marijuana establishment licenses.

Another requirement, from the county and the Hygiene Fire Protection District, will be to get that fire district’s advance approval of a fire suppression system, and a fire hydrant in place in front of the Hygiene Road property, before the county issues any building permits for the growing facility structure.

Hygiene fire chief Chad Bollacker, who also spoke at the hearing, told the commissioners he learned only recently that there’s some question about whether the city of Longmont, the property’s past water provider, would be willing to continue to do so if the property’s use changes to marijuana production, or whether the city’s water system services to the unincorporated Hygiene area would even be adequate for fire suppression.

Domenico cited that uncertainty over the adequacy of the water supply for fire protection and firefighting purposes as one of the reasons she’d decided to vote against approving the land-use change.

Henningsen and Gourley, however, said they expect Longmont city approval of their updated water-use agreement next month.

The county staff said, and Jones noted, that if the hydrant cannot be installed and the water supply for it guaranteed, than the project will not be allowed to proceed.

News Moderator: Katelyn Baker
Full Article: Proposed Hygiene Marijuana Operation Gets Boulder County’s Go-Ahead
Author: John Fryar
Contact: 303-776-2244
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