Centennial City Council opposes Arapahoe County’s pot plan

Proposal would allow personal growing in unincorporated commercial areas of Arapahoe

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Centennial City Council is not only surprised by a proposed amendment to the Arapahoe County marijuana code, it has unanimously passed a resolution against it.

“I really have a strong feeling against one government telling another government what to do, but in this case, I’m willing to make an exception,” said Councilmember Vorry Moon during a May 12 study session.

During that meeting, the council directed staff to craft the resolution, which outlines its opposition to a proposal making its way through the review process in Arapahoe County. It would allow commercial property owners in unincorporated agricultural areas to lease indoor space to people who could use it to grow marijuana for medicinal purposes for personal consumption.

“The intent is to get marijuana growing out of urban areas and into a more suitable environment,” Ron Carl, Arapahoe County attorney, said on May 20.

It places no limits on how many people could rent space, and councilmembers envision a sort of community garden for pot.

“It’s like a doggie day care for your pot plants,” said Mayor Cathy Noon. “Somebody is always one step ahead of whatever regulation you have.”

Carl said he doesn’t envision that type of business model, and stresses that each application would have to be approved by the county commissioners. The resolution passed by council during its May 19 meeting, has no legal sway, it is simply the strongest opposition council can voice.

“Basically what I think this says is, `You guys ought to be ashamed of yourselves,’ ” said Councilmember Doris Truhlar. “Generally you don’t want to meddle in other governments, but this is crappy. This is in our back yard.”

Andy Firestine, deputy director of the city’s community-development department, says such establishments could arise in the Dove Valley area, creating a potential land-use conflict should annexation into Centennial ever be a possibility. He also notes that because the pot would be for personal use, there are no state regulations on its production.

Carl said he can’t imagine the commissioners approving a plan that would create problems for a neighborhood, and noted the amendment prohibits the use within 1,000 feet of residential areas, schools, parks and churches. It also specifically bans marijuana clubs, where people might congregate to partake, which the county’s ban did not specifically do before.

The county’s planning board was slated to hear about the proposal at its May 20 study session. Its public hearing is set for June 3, then the commissioners will hold theirs on June 24.