More than a year after drama-filled council hearings, Steamboat Springs pot shop is finally ready to relocate | SteamboatToday.com

More than a year after drama-filled council hearings, Steamboat Springs pot shop is finally ready to relocate

The Harvest plans to move into Curve Plaza sometime in November.

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — A Steamboat Springs marijuana dispensary is ready to relocate to a more visible location in Curve Plaza more than a year after the Steamboat Springs City Council approved the move after hearings that were filled with lots of drama and controversy.

The Harvest, formerly known as Natural Choice, is hoping to be open for business in early November near the corner of U.S. Highway 40 and Elk River Road.

"It brings us more accessibility and convenience," manager Matt Kilby said of the new location, which sits between Arctic Liquor and Lil’ House Country Biscuits and Coffee.

Business partners Paul Franklin and Jon Peddie recently acquired the marijuana dispensary, which currently operates at Downhill Plaza.

The ownership change delayed the planned relocation.

The previous owners got approval to move into Curve Plaza in May 2016. But they had to overcome several hurdles and spur a city council president to switch his vote to eventually get the green light.

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Natural Choice's proposal became controversial because the business was seeking a variance to allow it to set up shop just shy of 1,000 feet from a park.

Some council members and residents also injected moral arguments into the debate, saying they did not want children who stage fundraisers at nearby Ace Hardware so close to a shop where marijuana is sold and a family restaurant.

To thicken the plot, a council member who initially voted against the move was forced to recuse himself from a revote on the issue after it was discovered he had heated disagreements with the landlord of the new Curve Plaza location regarding other marijuana-growing operations.

During the re-vote, a majority of the council sided with the city's planning commission, which recommended approval of the move.

"If this was a liquor store, we would not be having this conversation," Councilwoman Robin Crossan said before she voted to approve the move. "If this was for any other business in this community, we would not be having this conversation. You have to set aside what your (personal) thoughts about the business are and focus on the facts."

Because the marijuana dispensary had changed owners before the move was completed, the city council Tuesday had to consider the relocation proposal once again.

They treated the change of location as more of a formality, and it earned unanimous approval without any drama or public comment.

To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210, email scottfranz@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @ScottFranz10.

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