If you go
What: Hayden Town Council meeting
When: Today; 7 p.m. work session followed by a 7:30 p.m. regular session
Where: Hayden Town Hall, 178 W. Jefferson Ave.
Steamboat Springs Hayden’s Town Council tonight will consider whether to amend the town’s land use regulations, which would allow operation of medical marijuana dispensaries.
Great Scott’s Total Care, which operates marijuana dispensaries in Denver and Lakewood, has submitted a proposal requesting two changes to Hayden’s land use code. Because the town’s code does not define whether medical marijuana dispensaries are permitted in Hayden, applicant Scott Cychosz has provided one that complies with existing state law. Cychosz also has requested that he be permitted to locate a dispensary in Hayden’s downtown historic district.
The Town Council will conduct a public hearing and decide whether to amend the land use code to add the definition and permit dispensaries in the historic downtown district.
Hayden Town Manager Russ Martin said tonight’s action is a chance for members of the community and the Town Council to decide if they want to allow medical marijuana dispensaries in town.
The Hayden Planning Commission and the town’s planning staff has recommended that the town council members deny the request or direct staff to conduct additional research about whether to allow medical marijuana dispensaries.
But if the request is approved, Martin said Hayden’s existing code would permit Great Scott’s Total Care to open a dispensary if it obtained state and local sales tax licenses. Cychosz wouldn’t have to submit to a criminal background check or locate his shop a certain distance from a school or homes, which are requirements for obtaining a liquor license in Hayden.
However, Martin said the Town Council also could decide to create an ordinance with stricter regulations for medical marijuana dispensaries, like Steamboat Springs and Oak Creek have done.
Martin also does not support the proposal. He said in addition to some concerns with the proposal — such as security, which isn’t addressed — timing is an issue.
The Colorado House of Representatives on May 11 approved House Bill 1284, which requires that dispensaries be licensed and monitored throughout the state but also allows local municipalities to ban them. The legislation awaits Gov. Bill Ritter’s signature before becoming law.
Because lawmakers were considering the legislation, Martin said he chose to wait before discussing a change to Hayden’s land use code with the Town Council when dispensaries started opening all across the state, including Routt County, last year.
The Steamboat Springs City Council and Oak Creek Town Board approved marijuana dispensary ordinances earlier this year that include provisions such as criminal background checks, limiting distances to schools, signage restrictions and application fees.
Steamboat’s ordinance also caps the number of dispensaries at three.
Other operating dispensaries in the county include one in Oak Creek and one in Yampa. A dispensary has been approved in Milner, pending certain requirements being met.
Cychosz — when reached by phone Wednesday in Denver — said he opened his first medical marijuana dispensary about a year ago. After obtaining his medical marijuana card and visiting dispensaries, Cychosz thought he could operate the business better. After his Denver location was successful, Cychosz opened a second location in Lakewood.
He said he chose to apply to locate his third location in Hayden because his brother, Tim, who will operate the dispensary with him, lives west of Steamboat Springs. He said they like the town and think it could a good location for them.
In his proposal to have the town’s land use code amended, Cychosz said his dispensaries on the Front Range have created an “economic hotspot” for other businesses to thrive. He said increased foot traffic at his dispensaries has led to more commercial activity where they’re located.
He said in the proposal that the increased foot traffic from Great Scott’s Total Care would help Hayden’s core business district prosper.
“The increased activity will be noticed by other entrepreneurs and business owners who will see the value in opening business in Hayden, Colorado,” Cychosz said.