Fort Lupton City Council began the process of setting out parameters for voter-approved medical and retail marijuana businesses during a study session Feb. 23. Council was working from a draft …
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Fort Lupton City Council began the process of setting out parameters for voter-approved medical and retail marijuana businesses during a study session Feb. 23.
Council was working from a draft ordinance, which is not available for public review. Council also couldn’t make decisions on an ordinance because it was in a workshop meeting.
Part of the problem facing council and city staff is where to put these businesses. They can’t be within 1,000 feet of schools, day-care facilities and treatment centers. Council leaned toward not allowing the businesses within 500 feet of parks.
Council didn’t seem interested in letting two marijuana retailers occupy locations next to each other, and it didn’t want the businesses in the downtown area, either.
“I don’t have anything against anyone using it for personal reasons or medical reasons,” Mayor Zo Stieber said. “I don’t want my downtown to have it.”
“I agree,” said Councilwoman Shannon Rhoda. “Let’s take the whole downtown area out. We might be creating more controversy by allowing a few.”
“I like the idea of excluding downtown,” added Councilman Chris Ceretto.
“I wouldn’t mind having one in the downtown area,” said Councilman David Crespin. “My mom said to make it fair so people don’t feel left out.”
Planner Todd Hodges reminded the council that the number of issued permits will be limited.
“We are going to look at this as a zoning issue and from a planning perspective,” he told the council. “We’ll need to look at the impact from a land-use point of view.”
“Some cities rely on this income,” Stieber said. “When they have competition and lose market share, they lose revenue.”
Resident and Nature’s Herbs & Wellness Owner John Rothanham was all for keeping marijuana businesses away from downtown. He also told councilors that a lack of a downtown location hasn’t hurt marijuana retail in other places.
“People have put us in light industrial areas,” he told the council. “People still come and find us.”
Council also took up the issue of how to let marijuana businesses file applications.
“I like the idea of a lottery,” Stieber said. “I don’t want lots, like 500 applications. Maybe 10? I think it’s appropriate that we sort them. I’d like to see their references, their history.”
The consensus was to allow one business for 2,500 people in the population. In 2019, Fort Lupton’s population was a bit more than 8,000. Hodges said a review of the business financial history would be appropriate, too.
The wording for the ordinance could come before the council at its next workshop meeting Tuesday, March 9.
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