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Cortez council discusses marijuana cultivation in industrial park

Cortez Industrial Park is area in question
An employee of Medicine Man tends to the dispensary’s medicinal crop in 2010.

Cortez City Council members on Tuesday delayed a decision about allowing marijuana growing operations in the industrial park, saying that they needed more information.

Mark Rodgers, who owns property off Industrial Park Road, asked the council in May to consider revising the land-use code to allow grow operations in the business park. He said some people have indicated they would buy his building, but they were waiting to see whether a code change would allow a grow operation.

Rodgers again asked council members during Tuesday’s meeting if they have researched the subject. There are several empty buildings in the industrial park, and another land use might be helpful, he said.

“If we can turn some buildings into productive, moneymaking buildings, then I think it’s worth looking at,” he said.

City Manager Shane Hale said city staff were still investigating potential impacts. The police department is still investigating how much extra time and money would be devoted to patrolling marijuana operations in the industrial park if the code were changed, he said. That investigation would take several months, Hale said.

Rodgers said he has been waiting on a decision for months, and wanted to know why the police department needed more time.

Police Chief Roy Lane said the department was doing two rounds of inspections to determine possible effects. Officers were preparing to start the second round of inspections, he said. The inspection process typically takes three to four months, Lane said.

“When I give you numbers, I want them to be true,” the chief told council members.

Councilman Ty Keel said the council needs to wait for that information before they can make a decision. Council members said they would have that information in a few months.

Other council actions

Also Tuesday, council members set a Sept. 13 date for a public hearing on a new microbrewery liquor license. WildEdge Brewing Collective plans to set up a brewpub at 111 N. Market St., which has been rezoned from neighborhood business to a central business district to allow for a microbrewery.

Council members voted to authorize Hale to sign a contract with attorney Erik Cecil for outside legal counsel on fiber optics and mass communications projects. Cecil is a specialist in communications, and was recommended by city attorney Mike Green.

The council also approved a resolution authorizing a memorandum of understanding with the Colorado Department of Public Safety, which will allow the city’s building department to issue building permits, conduct inspections and issue certificates of occupancy for school construction projects. Director of Planning and Building Sam Proffer said the memorandum would allow the building department to work with school officials to keep construction projects on track.

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