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Commissioners Table Apple Shed S.R.U. Request

Following a two hour presentation and public hearing on a proposal to turn the Apple Shed building along Highway 115 in Penrose into a medical marijuana cultivation and medically infused products (MIPS) manufacturing facility, the Fremont County Commissioners voted last Tuesday to table a decision until April 2nd.

The Commissioners conducted a single public hearing taking comment on three different applications by Chris Haight of Thressor LLC who has leased the Apple Shed building in Penrose.   Because the building currently sits in a Business Zone District, Haight had to apply for a Special Review Use Permit to allow a light industrial use for the MIPS manufacturing purposes.   The other two applications deal specifically with the marijuana permits.   Haight informed the county that the State of Colorado already issued his two medical marijuana state licenses pending county approval.

District 2 Commissioner Debbie Bell said that given the amount of information presented at the hearing and from written comment there was too much information to digest to come up with an informed decision the same day.   Commission Chairman Ed Norden added that there was conflicting information between what the Penrose Fire Chief testified to before the Planning Commission and the written approvals received by Florence Fire Chief Gene McKinnon who replied on behalf of the Florence Fire Protection District.   Norden said the Board needs to sort out some of that conflicting information.

Haight told the Board that there is a lot of misconception about the proposed use of butane in the MIPS process to extract hash oil from the marijuana plants.   He said the extraction room would rely on a 10-12 pound butane tank while a typical backyard grill propane tank houses 15-20 pounds of propane.  Haight added that the butane extraction system for medical marijuana hash oil is in use at 160 locations in the U.S.   He said no accidents have been reported at any of the licensed facilities.   Haight added that his MIPS plan would produce only the hash oil for sale and that his operation would not produce any edible medical marijuana products.

Among those testifying during the hearing were Richard Neidermeyer and Patrick Slawson who serve on the Penrose Park District Board.    Both are opposed to the Thressor application saying the operation would be too close to the many kids and families using the Penrose Park across the street.  John Sandefur pointed to the proliferation of medical marijuana grow facilities around the Penrose area and said “Enough is enough”.   Charlie Newlon spoke against the Thressor proposal saying the Board’s decision will change the landscape of Penrose.   He says people are putting up fences and boarding up windows.   He says once their lifestyle is gone, it’s gone.

Among those in support was Donald Taton who said medical marijuana is here and it helps people.   He said the butane system proposed by Haight has not failed in 50 years.   Marsha Cox also spoke in favor saying she lives nearby and the operation would actually help Penrose.   She also said she has used infused medical marijuana with much better results and fewer side effects than smoking.

In tabling action on the applications the Board of Commissioners scheduled a special meeting for 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday, April 2nd to make a determination.

In other business at the March 10th board meeting the Commissioners:

  • Appointed Dan Korber of Cañon City to a vacancy on the three-member War Memorial Park Committee;
  • Approved a resolution putting in place a general policy for public records requests.   The policy will provide guidance to all county offices on the timeliness of fulfilling requests, fees that can be charged, the type of information that can be provided, and the type of information on which there are restrictions;
  • Scheduled a public hearing for 10 a.m. on April 14th on a Special Review Use Permit by Jackie Tripp of Play Dirty ATV to allow ATV tours into the Texas Creek BLM trail system through a BLM lease agreement on a parcel of property 1.7 miles west of the Texas Creek junction on Highway 50.