SAGUACHE — Last Thursday, Dec. 14 the Saguache Planning Commission met and approved four new marijuana applications during its monthly meeting, despite objections by some that they would like to see a moratorium on the grows.
Commissioners will now have to review the applications.
One planning commission member explained that the way the regulations are written the commission has no choice but to approve the applications. “To comply with the current regulations, we had to pass them,” s/he commented. S/he feels the permitting and application process should be revised and said work sessions are planned for this after the first of the year.
But the commission member said s/he anticipates a cap will be set on grows in the county rather than an actual moratorium declared.
Those attending reported there was a lot of input at the meeting and the road and bridge building was full of citizens. About half were for the approval of the grows and half against.
Several illegal grows on County Road T were reported at the meeting but Land Use/Co-Administrator Wendi Maez said she visited the grows this summer and saw nothing. Now there will be nothing to see or inspect, because by October the growing season has ended.
Pitkin Avenue Baptist Pastor Mark Sweeney told the commission the sheriff needs more funding to help fight illegal grows. The commission member said the problem with the illegal grows is that the county instructed their code enforcement officer Deputy Wayne Clark that those in violation should only be given a warning and only if they do not come into compliance should they be pursued and fined.
The sheriff’s office said after a warning there would be no more leniency and the second violation would be a citable offense. Some feel this policy is not strict enough and sends the message that growers can get away with anything in Saguache County, encouraging more illegal grows.
Eventually, the commission member said, the county will be forced to initiate zoning to deal with the grows if a cap or moratorium cannot be agreed upon.