Marijuana grow proposed

gil commJohn Scarffe, Gilpin County.   A Gilpin County resident asked the County to allow a retail marijuana growing facility during a regular meeting of the Gilpin County Board of County Commissioners on Tuesday, February 9, 2016, at the Gilpin County Courthouse. Joe Licata, owner of Rocky Mountain Organics at 5312 Highway 119, Black Hawk, and his son, Jason, brought the request before the Board.

Jason Licata said it has been one of the goals of RMO to have a grow operation near their stores in Gilpin County. They have one now but it is 191 miles away. They’d like to have their grow site behind the Coyote Lodge.

The operation would hope to grow about 15 pounds per month at $300 per pound, Jason said. They are proposing making about $54,000 a year at full bore.
“It takes three to four months to get to full capacity,” Jason said. They plan to truck in water, instead of using local wells. Security will be very tight with outside cameras, and traffic will be very low.

“I think a small grow like this would be great for the County to try it,” Jason said. Joe Licata added that the grow facility would employ five or six people.

Commissioner Gail Watson said the County currently has a moratorium on retail and medical marijuana, so the County would have to approve it through special use review. Applicants would usually go through the Community Development Department.

Right now, County ordinances prohibit both retail and marijuana establishments, except for three existing establishments, RMO being one of them. In December 2012, the Board passed an ordinance prohibiting medical marijuana, and the ordinance prohibiting retail marijuana followed in August 2013. Both ordinances prohibit marijuana cultivation, testing and product manufacturing facilities, and marijuana stores in unincorporated Gilpin County.

County Manager Roger Baker said this is a very exceptional proposal, and a lot of homework has to be done. He didn’t want to waste staff time if the Board had no interest in it.

“The financing part is something we would have to look at very carefully,” Baker said. Having something like this the County could use as a model would be helpful, because it’s a fairly confined proposal.

Watson said the Commissioners need to talk to their constituents about this, and the Board agreed to make it the main subject of the monthly Coffee with Commissioners at the Gilpin County Community Center on Tuesday, February 16, 2016.

Land Exchange and Grant Agreement

A possible site for a shooting range in the County could result from a land exchange proposed between Gilpin County and Bonanza Land LLC. Community Development Director Tony Petersen told the Council that the County could trade interest in four claims for the La Place MS #6003 mining claim.

“This is one potential place for a shooting site,” Petersen said. It meets most of the criteria because it is accessible year around and is fairly isolated. It also can be procured without cash.

In return, the County would trade Bonanza interest in four mining claims that are not very useful for the County: NO2092 Whiting #161, 2.010 gross acres; NOO7715 Lynne #17518, 3.93 gross acres; NOO7539 Danforth #1001, 4.999 gross acres; NOO7783 Paris #16799, 1.2 gross acres.

Commissioner Watson suggested that the Commissioners visit the site and have it inspected in order to be sure it is valid for a shooting site before moving forward.

Petersen said the property owner wants this anyway, and Commissioner Buddy Schmalz said the Board should approve it now, and if it doesn’t work for a shooting site the County hasn’t lost anything. The Board approved the trade with the condition of an onsite visit first.

The Board approved a grant agreement with the Caring for Colorado Foundation to help fund Gilpin County transportation. The Foundation awarded a one-time payment of $22,701 for the term of March 1, 2016, to February 8, 2017.

The next meeting of the Gilpin County Commissioners will be on Tuesday, February 23, at 9 a.m. at the Gilpin County Courthouse, 203 Eureka Street, Central City.

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