No medical marijuana at Summit County ski resorts for now |

No medical marijuana at Summit County ski resorts for now

Bob Berwyn
Summit County, CO Colorado

SUMMIT COUNTY – A new set of Summit County land-use rules would permit medical marijuana dispensaries in commercial districts on county lands and establish buffers to schools and public areas like parks.

As currently proposed, the regulations would only permit dispensaries in a handful of locations: Near the 7-11 north of Breckenridge, in the Wildernest commercial zone and in the Heeney area, for example.

That could change with any future zoning updates, and also based on input from the public and from the countywide planning commission, said planning director Jim Curnutte.

The proposed regulations are valid for county land outside town boundaries. They would exclude dispensaries at Keystone and Copper Mountain resorts by prohibiting them in mixed-use buildings that have a residential or hotel component.

However, the county commissioners asked planners to touch base with resort officals about those restrictions. If the resorts want to leave the door open for medical marijuana dispensaries, the rules could be tweaked, Curnutte said.

The proposed rules would also affect several existing growing operations on county land by prohibiting dispensaries on land zoned for agriculture (the A-1 zone).

Under the proposed county regulations, growing would only be allowed in dispensaries, limited by the same zoning requirements and buffers.

At least two known grow operations on county land would become unauthorized uses if the regulations are adopted as proposed.

“We’re not allowing it in A-1 zoning for several reasons. if we allow it in A-1, it could allow for large-scale growing operations … we’re proposing that restriction because of propensity for fire, theft, and the potential burden on law enforcement,” said Summit County planner Kristin Dean. “We’re not sure we want Summit County to be known as area that allows large growing operations,” she said.

In general, the county wants to be consistent with similar town regulations by adopting buffers to schools and public areas like parks.

Once county planners have tweaked the regulations based on feedback from Tuesday’s work session, the next step will be a Dec. 7 review by the countywide planning commission.

“The most we could have in the county would be four,” said assistant county manager Thad Noll.

County Commissioner Thomas Davidson asked whether there should be a formal public notification process, to let neighbors know if someone is applying for a permit to operate a dispensary.

County planners replied that it would serve no purpose, since there is no associated appeal mechanism.

The permitting process could also include an up-front security component. Summit County Sheriff John Minor told the commissioners he’s concerned about the potential for crime.

In some other parts of the country, robbery rates have gone up as criminals target both the cash and the product, he said, singling out Los Angeles County as an example.

Minor said the county and the sheriff’s office should work with operators pro-actively to address those public safety concerns.

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