Grand County Planning Commission to consider medical marijuana, nightly rental policies |

Grand County Planning Commission to consider medical marijuana, nightly rental policies

Tonya Bina
Sky-Hi News
Grand County, CO Colorado

Short-term rentals, medical marijuana centers and amendments to air quality regulations are all being discussed at the Wednesday, Feb. 9, county planning commission meeting in Hot Sulphur Springs.

Marijuana centers

Since citizens voted not to prohibit medical marijuana centers in the county on Nov. 2, 2010, the county planning department has been drafting ways to regulate such centers.

The first draft of these regulations is being presented to the planning commission for consideration tonight (Feb. 9) in Hot Sulphur Springs.

A temporary moratorium on medical marijuana facilities is in effect until Jun. 30 in unincorporated Grand County.

The county planning department recommends that marijuana centers be subject to special use permitting, and owners be required to obtain annual renewals. Permits would be conditional on whether the applicant has a proof of a valid sales tax license, has a commercial well permit or tap paid on central water, has a current lease if he or she doesn’t own the property, signs an agreement understanding that he or she could still be prosecuted under federal marijuana laws, must conform with county lighting requirements, doesn’t have signage that advertises “marijuana” or “cannabis” without first saying “medical,” and must not allow any consumption of the product or alcohol on premises. Setbacks for facilities are suggested to be: 1,000 feet from an alcohol or drug treatment facility, 1,000 feet from another medical marijuana facility, 1,000 feet from schools and 1,000 feet from a licensed or residential child care facility, and no facility should be considered a “home-based” business, according to the county’s certificate of recommendation.

The county planning department is recommending centers be located in Business and Tourist zones only.

There are about 817 properties zoned “Business” or “Tourist” in the county, but with the setbacks recommended, the number of properties that could actually have a center is “significantly lower,” according to the Certificate.

Short Term Rentals

In the first public meeting since a Dec. 7 workshop that explored ways to enforce short-term rental properties in residential zones of the county, the county planning commission is about to review a possible solution.

In many ways, the planning department’s recommendation mirrors that of Grand Lake’s nightly rental requirements.

The county planning department estimates there are about 200 short-term rental units in residential areas of unincorporated Grand County.

Regulating such rental units could help to limit impacts to neighbors and ensure payment of county, lodging and state sales taxes, according to the planning department’s certificate of recommendation. But such a program could mean an expense to the county with enforcement.

The planning department suggests charging an application fee of $150 plus a $400 annual licensing fee for property owners seeking to rent out their homes on a short-term basis.

Neighbors would be informed of this proposed use, allowing them a chance to weigh in on the prospect. If there are no complaints or objections from neighbors, the property owner could be issued a license as long as he or she provides a valid sales tax number and provides the information of a management company and of a local contact person who is available within 30 minutes and around the clock while the unit is rented. Adequate trash removal, lighting, a parking plan and HOA approval would also need the county’s sign-off.

If there is a complaint, however, the application would go before the county board of commissioners for special-use permit review, which could be approved under a public process, or not approved. A special use permit fee could be in the range of $800, according to the certificate.

During the planning commission’s upcoming review of this possible solution in addressing short-term rentals, enforcement and penalties for those who do not comply will also be considered.

Air quality amendment

The county planning commission has on its agenda solid wood fuel burning devices, and whether they should be allowed in most of the county under the county regulations and building codes.

“During the past few years, the popularity of outside wood fired boilers has increased dramatically in Grand County. In part, this may be due do the increased inexpensive fuel supply from the beetle-kill trees countywide,” reads the county planning department’s certificate of recommendation on this issue.

Commissioners have reviewed each instance of wood fired boilers on a case-by-case basis, but “This process has become cumbersome for the public as well as the board,” the certificate states.

It’s for this reason, the planning department suggests qualified outside solid fuel burners (including pellets and other solid fuels) be permitted as a “use by right” in Grand County, with the exception of the Fraser Valley and Winter Park areas. “This is due to the higher density and smaller lot sizes in the Fraser Valley and Winter Park areas,” the certificate reads.

Solid wood boilers approved by the EPA categorizes heaters to be 70 percent (phase 1) cleaner if marked with an orange tag and 90 percent (phase 2) cleaner if marked with a white tag compared to boilers manufactured before 2007.

The allowance of boilers should only include those “qualified by the EPA,” according to the certificate.

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