Hayden resident wants to start marijuana growing operation
Steamboat Springs — Rodney McGowen says he has never smoked pot and twice voted against legalizing it, but now the Hayden resident wants to grow it commercially.
Currently, the town does not allow for commercial grow operations, manufacturing of marijuana-infused products or marijuana sales.
McGowen is asking the town to reconsider its rules for grow operations. He does not intend to pursue marijuana sales or manufacturing.
The Hayden Planning Commission will consider McGowen’s request at 7 p.m. Thursday.
McGowen moved to Hayden from Louisiana in 2005. He has served as chairman of the Hayden Economic Development Commission and the RedneX Games.
McGowen, a builder, wants to operate the grow operation out of a building he owns in the Valley View Business Park. McGowen bought two lots in the business park in 2007 and built a 3,300-square-foot warehouse on one of the lots. He is proposing the grow facility be located in the existing building.
McGowen said he purchased the property thinking the development would take off. That has not been the case, and about 30 of the 52 lots are still for sale.
“They’re now selling for a third of what they were worth,” McGowen said.
Jon Peddie and Paul Franklin developed the Valley View Business Park.
“We support what’s he’s doing, for sure,” Peddie said. “It would be a good use to kick off the industrial park.”
McGowen said that after years of trying to decide what to do with his building, he needed to find a use and decided to pursue a grow operation.
“Economics are economics,” McGowen said.
While McGowen holds a degree in agriculture, he intends to find experts to help him with the grow. Marijuana grown at the facility would be shipped to dispensaries. McGowen said there is demand on the Front Range.
Hayden Planning Consultant Greg Thompson prepared a report on the proposed grow operation and outlined the pros and cons.
“The industry is growing throughout the state,” Thompson wrote. “Jobs associated with this business generally pay a reasonable wage. For comparison, the two grow facilities located in Oak Creek employee approximately 22 employees. It could spark others to look to build in Hayden to provide other locations for this type of business and add to Hayden’s local job base.”
Thompson said the town needs to consider whether it wants a grow operation allowed in its community.
“What does it say about the town to allow marijuana grow facilities?” Thompson asked.
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