Loveland Bike Trail
 

 LARIMER COUNTY PLANNING COMMISSION

Minutes of September 09, 2013

 

The Larimer County Planning Commission met in a special session on Monday, September 09, 2013, at 6:30 p.m. in the Hearing Room.  Commissioners’ Bohling, Dougherty, Gerrard, Jensen, Miller, Wallace, and Zitti were present.  Commissioner Cox was absent.  Commissioner Glick presided as Chairman.  Also present were Matt Lafferty, Principle Planner, Terry Gilbert, Community Development Director, Michael Whitley, Planning Department, Jeanine Haag and Bill Resue, County Attorneys, and Doug Ryan, Health Department.

 

COMMENTS BY THE PUBLIC REGARDING THE COUNTY LAND USE CODE: 

None

 

COMMENTS BY THE PUBLIC REGARDING OTHER RELEVANT LAND USE MATTERS NOT ON THE AGENDA:  

None.

 

AMENDMENTS TO THE AGENDA:

None.

 

ITEMS:

 

ITEM #1  LARIMER COUNTY RESOLUTION FOR LICENSURE OF RETAIL MARIJUANA ESTABLISHMENTS #13-CA0134:

Mr. Whitley provided background information on the request for a resolution on the licensure of retail marijuana establishments.  He explained that Amendment 64 was passed by voters in November 2012, which decriminalized limited personal cultivation, possession and use of marijuana by adults 21 and over.  It also regulated the personal cultivation, possession, and use.  The proposal was not to amend Amendment 64 but was to regulate the commercial aspects of retail marijuana establishments, which would be separate from the medical marijuana laws.  He pointed out that the State must start accepting license applications by October 1, 2013 and until July 1, 2014 only medical marijuana license holders can apply for state licenses for retail marijuana.  As a result, initially it would only allow currently licensed industry holders to apply.  The local government options were to ban or regulate the marijuana establishments in which those  regulations had to be done by October 1, 2013.  If it was regulated, the local government could regulate time, place, manner, and number of marijuana businesses and could require a local license.  Larimer County decided to regulate retail stores and cultivation facilities (retail establishments) through zoning and licensing.  The proposed resolution would establish the Board of County Commissioners as the body that approved, approved with conditions, or denied license applications.  It would identify a role of Administrator to implement and administer the resolution, which the Planning Department was recommending the Community Development Director.  The proposed resolution would also establish procedures for license application submittal, review, processing, approval, renewal, suspension, and revocation.  The resolution would define the four license types and limit the number of licenses to two for each type.  It was proposed that no one person shall hold more than one of the license types.  He stated that existing medical marijuana facility operators would have priority in the application processing through the county and noted that there were two cultivation and medical marijuana facilities in unincorporated Larimer County.  He mentioned that the resolution would disallow the sale of edible products infused with marijuana, and the retail establishments would only be allowed in the C-Commercial and I-Industrial zoning districts with hours of operation limited to 8:00 am to 7:00 pm, seven days a week.  There would also be set separation requirements from certain uses/places in the county, which Mr. Whitley explained.  He noted that there had been several worksessions and public outreach regarding the proposal. The Planning Department was recommending approval of the resolution.

 

ITEM #2  AMENDMENTS TO THE LARIMER COUNTY LAND USE CODE REGARDING RETAIL MARIJUANA ESTABLISHMENTS #13-CA0135 :  

Mr. Whitley provided background information on the proposed amendments to the Larimer County Land Use Code Section 0.1 Definitions, Section 4.1 Zoning Districts, Section 4.3 Use Descriptions and Conditions, 4.3.12 Prohibited Uses, Section 4.7 Zoning Special Exceptions, and Section 22.2 Appeals to County Commissioners.  These amendments would add definitions for a number of terms found in the Larimer County Resolution for Licensure of Retail Marijuana Establishments and allow the establishments in only the C-Commercial and I-Industrial zoning districts with a State and local license.

 

Commissioner Miller asked how the separation requirement regulations were determined.

 

Mr. Whitley stated that a measurement from property line to property line could be automated and would take out the human error in the measurement.  The change in separation measurement regulations would not affect medical marijuana establishments but would affect a retail marijuana application.

 

Commissioner Dougherty suggested that the two be existing operations exempt from the new separation measurement requirements in the resolution.  He asked if a licensee would be disqualified if a retail establishment was allowed and then a public school was later located within the buffer zone. 

 

Mr. Whitley stated that there was an annual renew of the license but it would not automatically disqualify renewal.  If a sensitive use did move within the buffer of the establishment and a conflict was created, then it could be examined at the renewal time.  The buffer only applied to existing sensitive uses such as schools, churches, etc.   Separation from those uses would not be evaluated at renewal but adverse impacts, complaints, etc. would be. 

 

Commissioner Dougherty asked if at January 1, 2014 there could be two testing and manufacturing licenses applied for.

 

Mr. Whitley replied yes.

 

Commissioner Jensen stated that he appreciated Mr. Whitley’s hard work.  He stated that he liked the property line to property line separation requirement.  He agreed that the two medical marijuana establishments be ‘grandfathered in’ regarding the separation requirements.

 

Commissioner Zitti agreed that the two established businesses be ‘grandfathered’ in regarding those measurements.   He liked the new separation requirements but also had some concerns with some different scenarios that could occur with that measurement requirement.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PUBLIC TESTIMONY:

Seth Guston, was concerned because as proposed the regulations only allowed two retail shops in Larimer County to sell marijuana.  He pointed out that there were multiple bars and liquor stores in the county.  He stated that Larimer County and the State of Colorado voted to make marijuana like alcohol and allowing two retail shops did not do that.  Competition was good for consumers and the market should be allowed to dictate how many marijuana retail shops to allow.  There was very strict zoning rules that would keep the number of shops down and the 1,000 foot buffer regulations, etc. would keep the number of retail shops in Larimer County low.  He stated that there was a fear regarding marijuana, and only allowing two shops would not serve the hundreds of thousands of adults in Larimer County. 

 

Commissioner Miller asked what would be the recourse of allowing only two retail establishments.

 

Mr. Guston believed that there could be concerns with the black market, the span and population of Larimer county, convenience, etc..  It did not allow competition and limiting it by an arbitrary number did not allow the market to do what it needed to do.  It also placed a magnifying glass on the industry with all the regulations and the annual renewal regulation.  It was not fair to consumers to limit it to two stores.   He stated that there was a 56% approval rating for  Amendment 64 which was a good indication that the citizens wanted it in the county. 

 

Tim Katers, Town of Berthoud Planner, applauded the work of staff and the commissioners in working towards the proposal.  He supported the proposal, especially the buffering from property line to property line.  He stated that Berthoud had banned retail marijuana uses in the community. 

 

Brian Freeman, owner of Choice Organics, reinforced that the grandfathering of the distance was a good idea.  He agreed that changing the buffering measurement to property line to property line was a good thing but agreed that grandfathering in the current operations would be a good suggestion.  He asked if the hours of operation could be changed from 8:00 am. to 7:00 pm to 8:00 am to 8:00 pm. 

 

Jeannine Machonim, owner of Colorado Mobile Testing, stated that mobile operations did not receive an approval in the county so she could not be grandfathered in .  She was also concerned with the 500 foot buffering because from a consumer perspective it was difficult to find rental property especially being confined to the zoning and the buffering regulations.  She asked that a testing facility not be put in the same category as an establishment .  She asked if testing facilities would be banned from doing edible marijuana products.

 

Mr. Whitley stated that testing facilities were categorized as establishments within Larimer County and the State regulations.  The regulations stated that edible products could not be sold or manufactured.  The regulations would not prohibit one from testing the edible products. 

 

Ms. Machonim stated that there was not many places/options to have an establishment with the zoning regulations. 

 

 

 

 

 

Sarah Guston, former medical marijuana business owner, reiterated that it should be regulated in a manner similar to alcohol.  She stated that in 2012, there were 2.24 liquor stores per 10,000 people in Larimer county.  There were 230,000 people in Larimer County over 20 years old and it was proposed to have two stores per approximately 200,000 people.  She thanked the County for trying to work with the voters but wanted to mention those facts and point out that the proposal was not in line with being regulated like alcohol.  She stated that the zoning areas with the buffer/distance regulations did limit locations.

 

Peter Verchick, owner of Flower Power Botanicals, echoed concerns about the buffer measurement regulations.  He stated that there were not a lot of commercial areas to locate in.  Measuring from property line to property line might be an easier method but the commercial properties were small and hard to find.  He stated that there would be no place to expand to meet the retail opportunity using that measurement.  He understood that exceptions would be made but his experience the Boards did not make exceptions based on all the medical marijuana proposals that got denied because they did have an exception.  He stated that they had operated for two years without incidents.  He stated that they had done what they could to work with the county and moving forward with the new measurement was of great concern for his business.  He asked if they would be grandfathered in to the spaces they occupied in their commercial buildings or if they could expand in that building.  He stated that he could expand into the next space and be within the 500 feet.  He pointed out that under State law the retail establishment could operated as a medical and retail facility but the grow operations could not.  As a result, those grow operations would have to be expanded and approved for it to occur unless they found a different place that would meet all of the regulations.  He mentioned that the annual renewal scared him because people could come in and complain, and he had tried very hard to keep the area clean and safe.

 

Blane Tool, felt that there were many qualified caregivers that had operations in the county and outside and he did not feel that it was fair to just grandfather the two existing operations located in the county.  He did not agreed with only two retail shops. 

 

Jathan Trevena, Rollerland Skate Center, applauded the decision to include places of recreation in the proposal.  He asked that notification not only be sent to property owners but also to the physical location of the property.  A lot of properties were leased and some tenants did not get notified from their landlords.   He supported a ban on retail marijuana.  He suggested getting feedback from the City of Fort Collins on their feelings since the Mulberry Corridor could be put within city limits.  He pointed out that the Larimer County Sheriff, Team Fort Collins, and the school districts were for a ban and their desires needed to be implemented into the proposal.  He stated that he had a licensed childcare inside of his business.  He was concerned about the neighborhood and community and the impact retail marijuana could have on it. 

 

DISCUSSION:

Commissioner Jensen asked if Amendment 64 mentioned regulating retail marijuana like alcohol.

 

Mr. Whitley stated that the Amendment 64 title was ‘Regulate Marijuana like Alcohol Act of 2012’.  There was a reference to regulating it like alcohol; however, there were regulations that didn’t contemplate it like alcohol.  Provisions within the amendment allowed local jurisdictions to make their own restrictions within the amendment. 

 

Chairman Glick asked that if mobile testing could get a license in Larimer County since there was not a requirement for license from the State.

 

Mr. Whitley stated that there was not a licensure requirement for medical marijuana but there was a requirement for retail marijuana testing.  State requirements also prohibited mobile testing.

 

Commissioner Zitti applauded the county for working on the proposal.  He stated that the buffer issue was of concern and agreed with grandfathering the two existing operators.  To address the number limitation of establishments, he stated that the priority was to make a solid regulation before it was expanded. 

 

Commissioner Gerrard commented that the passing of Amendment 64 was not only the legalization of marijuana but the decriminalization of it.  It also allowed each jurisdiction to ban the regulation.  He stated that all of the comments should be examined. 

 

Commissioner Jensen pointed out that there was not a clear mandate from the municipalities of Larimer County as to what they were going to do with the regulations. 

 

Commissioner Bohling stated that he voted against Amendment 64.  He stated that people voted for the amendment therefore did not want the jurisdictions to ban it.  He stated that starting small with the regulation was the right thing to do. 

 

Commissioner Dougherty reiterated that the regulations needed to start slowly to help pave the way for the future. 

 

Commissioner Miller pointed out that every person 21 and older could grow marijuana.  He stated that if retail marijuana was not allowed the intent of Amendment 64 would be negated as it was to decriminalize the sale and use of marijuana.  Therefore, he hoped that there would be more than two retail outlets but thought that it was a wise place to start.  He brought up why testing facilities would be placed under the same scrutiny as retail operations.  He thought that the buffer distance should be the same as the method used for medical marijuana and should not be changed.

 

Commissioner Wallace stated that she voted against Amendment 64 but she understood that it was passed by a majority of the voters.  The county had come up with regulations that were reasonable within the amendments and State statues.  She stated that it might not be perfect but it was a good starting point.  She stated that she did not care if the hours of operation were extended to 8:00 pm. 

 

Chairman Glick stated that he did not have a problem with hours of operation from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm, seven days a week.  He suggested that the establishments be closed on Christmas Day.  He suggested adding an exemption for the two existing establishments regarding the property line to property line measurement for the building that they were in.  He felt that the businesses should be set up for success instead of failure. 

 

Commissioner Dougherty moved that the Planning Commission adopt the following Resolution:

 

 

 

                                                BE IT RESOLVED that the Planning Commission recommend to the Board of County Commissioners approval of the Larimer County Resolution for Licensure of Retail

Marijuana Establishments, File #13-CA0134, subject to the following amendments:

 

Section 8.A.8  Retail Marijuana Establishments shall be open to the public only from the maximum hours of 8:00 am. to 8:00 pm MST, seven days per week.  Retail Marijuana Establishments shall be closed on Christmas Day.

 

Section 8.B  An exemption to the requirement of the distance shall be offered to the two existing medical marijuana licensees only in their existing establishment buildings to allow the application of the distance measurement requirements that were in place at the time these licenses applied for and were awarded their licensed.

 

Commissioner Miller seconded the Motion.

 

Commissioners’ Bohling, Dougherty, Gerrard, Jensen, Miller, Wallace, Zitti and Chairman Glick voted in favor of the Motion.

 

MOTION PASSED:  8-0

 

Commissioner Dougherty moved that the Planning Commission adopt the following Resolution:

 

BE IT RESOLVED that the Planning Commission recommend to the Board of County Commissioners approval of the Amendments to the Larimer County Land Use Code, File #13-CA0135, as shown on Exhibit A to the minutes.

 

Commissioner Miller seconded the Motion.

 

Commissioners’ Bohling, Dougherty, Gerrard, Jensen, Miller, Wallace, Zitti and Chairman Glick voted in favor of the Motion.

 

MOTION PASSED:  8-0

 

Commissioner Jensen proposed a temporary ban of retail marijuana establishments until April 1, 2014 to allow other municipalities in Larimer County to determine their course of action with the understanding that the two approved Motions were not negated.  If the ban was lifted, the Land Use Code and the Resolution of Licensure of Retail Marijuana would still be in place. 

 

Commissioner Dougherty thought that many municipalities had already voted to ban.  He also did not believe that Amendment 64 allowed for the placement of a temporary ban.  He did not believe a temporary ban was necessary.

 

Jeannine Haag, County Attorney, believed that if the jurisdiction was able to enact a ban that was permanent then it could enact a ban that was temporary.  She believed a moratorium or temporary ban could be done.

 

Commissioner Dougherty moved that the Planning Commission adopt the following Resolution:

 

BE IT RESOLVED that the Planning Commission recommend to the Board of County Commissioners a temporary ban of retail marijuana establishments until April 1, 2014 to allow other municipalities in Larimer County to determine their course of action.  The temporary ban could be lifted by the Board of County Commissioners at any time.   The Land Use Code and the Resolution of Licensure of Retail Marijuana passed would still be in place. 

 

Commissioner Gerrard seconded the Motion.

 

Commissioners’ Gerrard, Jensen and Zitti voted in favor of the Motion.

 

Commissioners’ Bohling, Dougherty, Miller, Wallace and Chairman Glick voted against the Motion.

 

MOTION FAILED:  5-3

 

 

REPORT FROM STAFF:  Mr. Lafferty reminded the Commission of their upcoming meetings. 

 

ADJOURNMENT:   There being no further business, the hearing adjourned at 9:00 p.m.

 

 

These minutes constitute the Resolution of the Larimer County Planning Commission for the recommendations contained herein which are hereby certified to the Larimer County Board of Commissioners.

 

 

_______________________________                      ______________________________

Scott Glick, Chairman                                                            Nancy Wallace, Secretary

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

EXHIBIT A

 

 

  1. Amend the section 0.1 definition of home occupation to read:

 

Home occupation.  A business use conducted as a customary, incidental, and accessory use in the resident's dwelling unit, attached garage or detached building, including office work, the making of art or crafts, trade uses, the providing of personal or professional services, and similar activities, and including retail sales of products produced on the premises and products clearly incidental, secondary and ancillary to the home occupation. Uses specifically excluded from home occupations include vehicle repair or similar activities and retail marijuana establishments.

 

2.   Add  the following definitions to section 0.1:

 

Private Marijuana Club. The consumption of marijuana by persons assembled within a nonresidential structure, where such consumption is permitted, encouraged, promoted, enabled or condoned by persons assembled therein, whether such consumption is the primary intended purpose or an intended purpose incidental to other reasons for assembly therein.

Retail Marijuana. Marijuana or Marihuana as defined in Section 16 (2)(f) of Article XVIII of the Colorado Constitution that is cultivated, manufactured, distributed, or sold by a Licensed Retail Marijuana Establishment.

 

Retail Marijuana Cultivation Facility.  A person licensed to cultivate, prepare, and package marijuana and sell marijuana to retail marijuana stores, to marijuana product manufacturing facilities, and to other marijuana cultivation facilities, but not to consumers.

 

Retail Marijuana Establishment. A Retail Marijuana Store, Retail Marijuana Cultivation Facility, Retail Marijuana Manufacturer, or Retail Marijuana Testing Facility

 

Retail Marijuana Product Manufacturing Facility.  A person licensed to purchase marijuana; manufacture, prepare, and package marijuana products; and sell marijuana and marijuana products to other marijuana product manufacturing facilities and to retail marijuana stores, but not to consumers.

 

Retail Marijuana Store. A Person licensed to purchase marijuana from marijuana cultivation facilities and marijuana products from marijuana product manufacturing facilities and to sell marijuana and marijuana products to consumers. 

 

Retail Marijuana Testing Facility.  An entity licensed to analyze and certify the safety and potency or marijuana.  Marijuana Testing Facilities includes only fixed structures/buildings and does not include mobile facilities that move from place to place.

 

 

 

 

 

 

            3.         Add the following uses to the specified zoning districts as follows:

4.1.18. C-Commercial A. Principal uses under the Commercial category:

20. Retail marijuana store (R) See section 4.3

21. Retail marijuana cultivation facility (R) See section 4.3

22. Retail marijuana product manufacturing facility (R) See section 4.3

23. Retail marijuana testing facility (R) See section 4.3

and renumber the remainder of the section.

 

4.1.19. I-Industrial A. Principal uses under the Commercial category:

20. Retail marijuana store (R) See section 4.3

21. Retail marijuana cultivation facility (R) See section 4.3

22. Retail marijuana product manufacturing facility (R) See section 4.3

23. Retail marijuana testing facility (R) See section 4.3

and renumber the remainder of the section.

 

4. Amend the zoning table inset in Section 4.1 to include the following uses:

 

Category:

Use:

Zoning districts C and I:

Commercial

Retail marijuana store

R *

Commercial

Retail marijuana cultivation facility

R *

Commercial

Retail marijuana product manufacturing facility

R*

Commercial

Retail marijuana testing facility

R*

 

 

5.  Add the following line immediately following the zoning table inset in Section 4.1:

 

*See Sections 4.3.3.P,Q,R & S

 

6.   Add the following new 4.3.3 use descriptions as P, Q, R & S:

P.  Retail marijuana store.  A Person licensed to purchase marijuana from marijuana cultivation facilities and marijuana products from marijuana product manufacturing facilities and to sell marijuana and marijuana products to consumers.  Retail marijuana stores shall not operate prior to obtaining State and Larimer County retail marijuana store licenses.

 

Q. Retail marijuana cultivation facility. A person licensed to cultivate, prepare, and package marijuana and sell marijuana to retail marijuana stores, to marijuana product manufacturing facilities, and to other marijuana cultivation facilities, but not to consumers. Retail marijuana cultivation facilities shall not operate prior to obtaining State and Larimer County retail marijuana cultivation facility licenses.

 

R. Retail marijuana product manufacturing facility. A person licensed to purchase marijuana; manufacture, prepare, and package marijuana products; and sell marijuana and marijuana products to other marijuana product manufacturing facilities and to retail marijuana stores, but not to consumers. Retail marijuana product manufacturing facilities shall not operate prior to obtaining State and Larimer County retail marijuana product manufacturing facility licenses.

S. Retail marijuana testing facility. An entity licensed to analyze and certify the safety and potency or marijuana.  Marijuana testing facilities includes only fixed structures/buildings and does not include mobile facilities that move from place to place. Retail marijuana testing facilities shall not operate prior to obtaining State and Larimer County retail marijuana testing facility licenses.

7.   Amend only the first paragraph of section 4.3.10.B definition of home occupation to read:

 

Home occupation.  A business use conducted as a customary, incidental, and accessory use in the resident's dwelling unit, attached garage or detached building, including office work, the making of art or crafts, trade uses, the providing of personal or professional services, and similar activities, and including retail sales of products produced on the premises and products clearly incidental, secondary and ancillary to the home occupation. Uses specifically excluded from home occupations include vehicle repair or similar activities and retail marijuana establishments.

 

8.   Amend section 4.3.10.P.4 to read:

 

Uses specifically prohibited as accessory rural occupations include: accommodation uses, adult uses, auto body or paint shops, community halls, general industrial uses, hazardous material storage and/or processing, flea markets, general retail, junkyards, pet animal facilities with outdoor use, shooting ranges, solid waste disposal or transfer centers, uses prohibited by state or federal law, value-added agriculture, uses classified as hazardous waste generators under state or federal legislation, and outdoor storage of recreational vehicles, boats and other large items. , and retail marijuana establishments.

 

9.   Add Section 4.3.12.C (Prohibited Uses):

 

C.   Private marijuana clubs are prohibited in all zoning districts as principal or accessory uses, including home occupations and accessory rural occupations, regardless of whether any such use is operated for profit or not for profit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Amend Section 4.7.2  (Special Exception Applicability) to read:

 

Only those uses that are not otherwise allowed by right, minor special review or special review, in a particular zoning district may be granted through this process, except that the county commissioners are not authorized to grant use changes (special exceptions) in a GMA district, PD-district or in the LaPorte Planning Area. Special Exception applications to allow medical marijuana centers, medical marijuana infused product manufacturers, medical marijuana optional premises cultivation operations, or other medical marijuana-related uses, or private marijuana clubs in any zoning district shall not be accepted, reviewed or processed. The county commissioners evaluate each proposed special exception use for compliance with the review criteria in this section and the development standards that apply to all development.

  1. Add Section 6.1.2.B.3 (Site Plan Review Applicability):

 

3. Medical Marijuana Establishments

 

12.   Amend Section 22.2.1.A.4 (Appeals Applicability).

 

Appeals to the prohibition of medical marijuana centers, medical marijuana infused product manufacturers, medical marijuana optional premises cultivation operations, private marijuana clubs and appeals that would allow for the submittal of a land use application to establish those or similar medical marijuana-related uses not otherwise allowed in any zoning district shall not be accepted, reviewed or processed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Background Image: Loveland Bike Trail by Sharon Veit. All rights reserved.