De Beque to hold hearing on outdoor pot plan

De Beque trustees are considering a proposal for an outdoor marijuana grow operation and will accept public input at a hearing next week.

The grow operation, proposed for 4695 U.S. Highway 6, was initially considered in August by the De Beque Planning Commission and recommended for approval by the commission and the town trustees. The site is bordered by a recreational marijuana shop, Kush Gardens, on the east, and is more than 1,700 feet away from any residence, according to the project application.

Mark Gerhard submitted the application for the project, though the property is owned by East Mesa Enterprises, according to town documents. Gerhard is listed as the general manager of Buds, Limited, a Grand Junction limited-liability company that formed in March 2016, according to Colorado Secretary of State records.

The more than 50-acre property is currently an empty sagebrush flat, and it’s part of a subdivision zoned for commercial and industrial development, called Riverbridge. The subdivision still needs improvements including the construction of a road, drainage improvements and power, according to De Beque Town Manager Lance Stewart, which are estimated to cost at least $60,000.

If trustees approve the project, those improvements would have to be made, Stewart said.

The plans for the site include a 6-foot welded security fence with barbed wire, 24-hour on-site security, and lighting tripped with motion sensors.

According to a staff report provided to trustees, there are concerns about mitigating the smell of the growing marijuana, which could last for several months depending on the sequence of the flowering plants in the operation.

Stewart said this is the second time Gerhard has proposed the grow operation for this site, and that he has been trying to get a proposal approved for roughly the last year. He had a proposal for another grow operation at 2034 I-70 S. Frontage Road that was turned down by trustees in January. The public hearing for this application will be held at
6 p.m. March 20, in the Community Center, 381 Minter Ave.

Buds, Limited’s proposal would qualify as a small-grow operation under De Beque regulations, Stewart said, and the town would receive a 5 percent excise tax on the wholesale marijuana sales. De Beque currently has two active large-grow licenses, both being used by District 8. No other commercial cultivation enterprises are currently operating in De Beque.


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