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Mancos trustees approve pot grow facility

Fred Brooks appointed as Mayor pro tem

Mancos Trustees on Wednesday voted to approve a retail marijuana application for New Millenium LLC. The company will proceed with a 5,000-square-foot marijuana cultivation operation in the former Metallics West building at 651 N. Main St.

Trustees approved the application in a 4-1 vote. Michele Black voting against.

The board overlooked complaints from Mancos resident Donna Schmittel. She said children and elderly people who live on Sunset Drive and Menefee Street, just south of the site, would be bothered by the odor. She said residents who have breathing problems would have to move.

“We have enough marijuana in our town,” Schmittel said. “There’s a whole block that will be affected more than any other that doesn’t want them there.”

Town staff pointed out that Mancos does not collect an excise tax on marijuana grow operations. New Millenium owner Gilbert Garcia said Wednesday the facility will create 12 to 16 jobs and several residents have applied.

The Mancos facility will only deal with female plants, which do not create pollen, said Sherry Garcia, CEO of Medicine Man, to which New Millenium supplies products.

The application contains conditions including approval of state licenses, New Millenium’s compliance with zoning requirements and the issuance of a final certificate of occupancy by the town building inspector.

In addition, New Millenium must meet conditions from the Mancos Planning and Zoning commission, including changing charcoal filters more often than recommended in order to mitigate odor, not placing mechanics such as HVAC on the south side of the building, and landscaping for a buffer to the south of the building.

Also Wednesday, trustees voted to appoint Fred Brooks as mayor pro tem. Brooks replaces Matthew Baskin, who resigned from the board.

The board also directed town staff to spray herbicide at Cottonwood Park, which is overgrown with foxtail, cheatgrass and pennycress.

Trustee Michele Black said those weeds are bad for dogs, and since Cottonwood Park is an off-leash dog park, they needed to be taken care of, she said.

Last year, the previous board of trustees adopted an organic parks management policy that included natural soil maintenance methods and other chemical-free options. But Town Administrator Andrea Phillips said town staffers have not used those methods to maintain the health of the soil at Cottonwood Park, which has allowed the weeds to get out of control. The town was without a parks manager for several months this spring after the previous manager, Leslie Hopkins, left the position and town officials worked to replace her.

The organic parks management policy includes herbicide sprays as a last resort, Phillips said. Trustees agreed that park staffers should spray herbicide at the park to take care of the weeds before they bloom and spread further, as long as plenty of notice is given.

Crews worked to repair a water main break at the intersection of West Street and Bauer Avenue late Monday night, Phillips said. The Mancos Fire Department helped put out a fire in a waste pile at Western Excelsior on Monday, but water was not shut off properly, resulting in the water main break, she said.

Mayor Queenie Barz commended town staff, who worked until 2:30 a.m. fixing the break and were back on the job at 7:30 a.m. the next day.

Marshal Jason Spruell reported that marshal’s deputies have been busy training. The department soon will equip its vehicles with new radio units, donated by the Dolores Fire Department.

Also Wednesday, the board approved a liquor license renewal for Olio Restaurant and approved a cable franchise renewal with Bresnan Communications. The renewal is through June 2021 with a five-year renewal option.