Will Steamboat’s pot shops be treated more like liquor stores? A pending relocation proposal could provide an answer
January 29, 2018
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — A marijuana dispensary's quest to move to a more accessible location between downtown and Steamboat Ski Area could soon reveal whether the city's elected officials are open to relaxing their marijuana codes to regulate pot shops more like liquor stores.
The Steamboat Springs City Council in 2016 showed it was willing to accept a less strict interpretation of city marijuana rules when it allowed another dispensary to move within 1,000 feet of a park in west Steamboat because nobody could find a walking path to the park that was less than 1,000 feet.
When they voted to allow the business to move into the more visible location in Curve Plaza, some council members noted the pot shop was moving right next door to a liquor store and cited that as justification for relaxing the 1,000-foot park buffer rule.
This year, Rocky Mountain Remedies' proposal to move into an office park just north of the intersection of U.S. Highway 40 and Hilltop Parkway will make a new council have to answer another question.
Should marijuana stores be allowed to set up shop adjacent to residential land?
Liquor stores can and already have, but city rules do not allow pot shops to do the same without the blessing of the City Council.
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There is currently a liquor store operating next to a gas station at the property immediately adjacent to the spot where RMR wants to relocate to.
That liquor store is also adjacent to one of the same residential parcels that RMR would be located next to.
The residential parcels in question are currently undeveloped.
City Planner Kelly Douglas said it was recently discovered during the planning review that the proposed location for RMR sits next to the residential property.
RMR's application has been labeled incomplete, and city planners have given the business time to make their case for why they think they should be allowed to move in under the conditional use process.
"I can't say whether that's OK," Douglas said. "It will be up to the City Council to decide."
Douglas said every city planning request stands on its own, and the applicant would have to provide the justification and be able to show the impacts from the business are mitigated or managed.
No public hearings on the dispensary's application to move to 410 South Lincoln Ave. have been scheduled yet.
RMR co-owner Kevin Fisher said Monday he had no comment on the application or the potential approval the business would need to operate next to a residential property.