Marijuana grow operation enters public process in Hayden
Steamboat Springs — Resident Rodney McGowen is moving forward with plans to build a marijuana cultivation business in Hayden.
The Hayden Planning Commission will consider his request for a conditional use permit during a meeting at 7 p.m. Thursday.
McGowen is calling his proposed building the Bayou Breeze Grow Warehouse in honor of his Louisiana roots.
When McGowen originally pitched the idea to the town, he proposed housing the grow operation in a warehouse he owns in the Valley View Business Park. He had said he wanted to start a grow operation, because he was unable to find anyone to lease the space.
Since then, he has leased the space to a concrete company, and he wants to build a new, 5,600-square-foot, single-story building on Lot 26 in the same business park.
According to McGowen’s application, the building will have four grow rooms, three vegetative rooms for plant maturation, a cutting and trimming room, an office, security room and shipping area.
During a special election on Jan. 26, 53 percent of Hayden voters said they wanted to allow marijuana grow operations through the conditional use process. The official vote was 267-237. The town will receive tax revenue from the marijuana that is shipped out of the facility.
If a majority of planning commission members feel McGowen meets all the requirements, they should approve the project.
“It will be interesting to see how the planning commission votes,” McGowen said Friday.
Before the vote, the planning commission was asked in May 2015, if marijuana grow operations should be allowed. A majority of commissioners were against allowing them.
The Hayden Town Council ultimately voted 6-1 in favor of allowing grow operations, after which a successful petition drive put the issue to a public vote.
Regardless of Thursday’s planning commission vote, the Hayden Town Council will ultimately decide whether to issue a conditional use permit to McGowen.
One of the issues residents had with allowing grow operations was the potential smell.
McGowen said he will use a closed-loop air purification system that will employ carbon filters, and there will be no air exhausted from the facility.
Hayden planning staff members have recommended approving the project as long as McGowen secures the necessary licenses and building permit. Staff also want McGowen to install a wastewater filtration system to keep contaminants from entering the town’s wastewater treatment plant.
McGowen said he is in the process of finding business partners to help finance the project. He would prefer to have the building winterized by the winter.
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