Should a marijuana dispensary be allowed near a karate dojo? Routt County parents say ‘no’
March 20, 2018
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — A group of parents don't think a marijuana store in Steamboat Springs should share a parking lot with a karate academy where their children train.
Nine parents of children who attend the Rocky Mountain Karate Academy have signed a letter urging the city's planning commission to reject Rocky Mountain Remedies proposal to move from west Steamboat into a new location at 410 S. Lincoln Ave.
The planning commission is set to weigh in on the proposal Thursday evening before it is sent to the Steamboat Springs City Council for a final decision April 3.
"We are concerned with a close proximity of a retail marijuana storefront for a number of reasons including traffic, potential odors and the allure for children that a marijuana storefront could promote," the parents wrote in the letter. "We do not want our children desensitized and familiar with marijuana at such a young and impressionable age."
The parents also expressed concern that having a marijuana store about 100 feet away from the karate academy could hurt attendance and cause membership fees to be raised.
The concerns aired by the parents about the proximity of a potential marijuana store are similar to some of the concerns aired by other community members when a different pot shop in town was applying in 2015 to move next to Ace at the Curve, where children often sell hot dogs and baked goods for fundraisers.
Recommended Stories For You
Those concerns did not derail that application, and the move was eventually approved.
Some city council members noted at the time they supported the move at Ace at the Curve in part because a liquor store was already operating there.
RMR would also be moving close to an existing liquor store at the proposed location. The application will serve as another test of whether the city's elected officials are open to regulating the businesses more like liquor stores.
The city's planning staff is recommending approval of RMR's move to the new location.
In their analysis of the application, city planners noted RMR plans to mitigate odors by using activated charcoal filters. State laws will also require RMR to shield all views of marijuana and related products from public view.
City planners concluded that the marijuana store would complement other nearby businesses in the area, which include offices and a liquor store.
There were two potential issues in RMR's application that required a lengthier review from planning staff.
One item was the store's proximity to Emerald Park, and the other issue was the location's proximity to land zoned for residences.
City staff noted topography between the proposed location for the dispensary and the future home sites is steep and that the proposed location for RMR does "not feel adjacent to the subject parcel."
"Additionally, there are no means of legal access to either (multifamily zoned) parcels on foot or by car," staff wrote.
City planners also are comfortable allowing a marijuana dispensary to be 947 feet from Emerald Park as the crow flies in part because the actual walking distance to the park is more than 1,200 feet.
"Staff believes that the use complies with the intent of the standard when taking into account distances, as well as barriers between the proposed use and Emerald Park, such as U.S. Highway 40, railroad tracks and a single-family home neighborhood," city planners wrote.
In addition to the letter of opposition from parents of the karate kids, the city received two additional letters urging the city to keep the pot shops away from the center of town.
RMR co-owner Kevin Fisher said he wanted to wait to comment on the proposal and the opposition to it until after Thursday's public hearing.
If its application is successful, RMR would be the first retail marijuana store to open between downtown and Steamboat Ski Area.
All three dispensaries in Steamboat are currently west of the Stock Bridge Transit Center, and RMR is the only retail pot shop that isn’t currently visible from U.S. Highway 40.