Steamboat City Council snuffs out pot shop’s relocation plans
April 3, 2018
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Rocky Mountain Remedies employees and supporters gasped and expressed surprise and disappointment Tuesday after the Steamboat Springs City Council blocked the pot shop's plans to move to a more visible location between downtown and Steamboat Ski area.
Even the council appeared confused by the final vote total, with some appearing surprised the proposal had been rejected.
"The council just said there's no place you're going to be able to move to improve your business outcomes," RMR co-owner Kevin Fisher said immediately after the council voted, 4-3, to deny the dispensary's application to move into 410 S. Lincoln Ave.. "But we'll keep looking.”
The council denied the application despite the proposal earning the support of the city's planning staff and the planning commission.
It appeared the council was heading toward a compromise that would have allowed the pot shop to move when Councilwoman Heather Sloop, who suggested early in the deliberations she would oppose the application, indicated late Tuesday she would be open to adding a condition that would only allow the pot shop to operate in the area so long as nearby residential parcels didn't get developed.
But Sloop joined council members Jason Lacy, Scott Ford and Kathi Meyer to deny the application when the vote was called.
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Council members Sonja Macys, Lisel Petis and Robin Crossan voted against the denial.
Those members seemed willing to approve the application, with some of them appearing to want to add a condition that the approval would be revisited if the residential parcels nearby the business were ever developed.
Before he voted against the application, Council President Lacy said he believed the community had spoken loud and clear four years ago in not wanting any dispensaries near land that was zoned for residential uses.
"I don't think this site would be appropriate being beside a residential zoned district," he said.
Meyer said she felt the dispensary would have negative impacts on surrounding businesses and properties due to the possibility of increased traffic.
Councilwoman Sonja Macys wanted to approve the application.
She said the city's planning staff had thoroughly vetted the proposal.
"I believe our planning staff did their due diligence and gave us some solid reasons to move forward with this application," she said.
RMR needed to overcome two hurdles to get their application approved.
First, they needed to convince the city they should be allowed to operate within 1,000 feet of a park as the crow flies.
They also needed to get approval to set up shop next to a parcel zoned for residential purposes.
The city's planning department felt the dispensary should be able to move into the spot just north of the intersection of Hilltop Parkway and U.S. Highway 40 because the location was technically more than 1,000 feet in walking distance from the park, and the nearby residential parcels appeared to be shielded from the business because of the nearby topography.
City planners noted there was a 20-foot elevation difference from the parking lot of the dispensary up to the rear property line of the nearest residential parcel.
Most of the members of the audience indicated they were supportive of RMR’s move when Lacy asked for a show of hands on the question of who wanted the application to succeed.
Dozens of people raised their hands to show support.
Only two people raised their hands indicating they were opposed.
Before Tuesday’s meeting, the council had received letters and emails from community members who opposed the move due to concerns about increased traffic and the dispensary’s potential proximity to a karate academy where children train.