THREE OAKS — The Three Oaks Village Planning Commission on July 6 approved three special land use permit/preliminary site plan approval requests for proposed marijuana-related businesses and recommended that the Village Council make changes to parking requirements in the Zoning Ordinance.

The special land use permit/preliminary site plan applications approved on July 6 were:

1. The Phase 2 (retail) portion of an application from Farnan Farms, LLC, at 7200 West U.S. 12, OK’d by planners after reviewing a traffic study compiled by the applicants focusing on the impact the establishment would have on those making left turns from U.S. 12 onto Schwark Road which indicated nearby left turn area off the highway such as the one to a nearby dollar store are likely already busier than Schwark Road would be with the retail business in place.

Planners approved Phase 1 of the proposed project at the 68-acre Enterprise Park (consisting of grow and processing operations) during their June 1 meeting.

2. A proposed cultivation/grow facility, marijuana processing center, and retail center at 6952 West U.S. 12. Applicant Joe Calandra said he operates a very similar facility in Southwest Colorado in an area with similar demographics to Three Oaks. He also said a greenhouse at the site is planned to give back to the community by growing flowers and food.

Concerns were raised about the impact the proposals would have on the village’s water and sewer systems. Calandra said “we’ll recapture the majority of our water and re-use as much of it as we can.”

Consultant Becky Harvey later noted that the village engineer reviews all such applications.

3. A proposed retail establishment at 23 West Ash St. A conditional rezoning from residential to C-1 Commercial for the front portion of the property was approved by the Village Council (after being recommended by the Planning Commission) earlier this year. Planners were told that a new “low-profile” building would be constructed at the site with 10 parking spaces.

Concerns about the site’s proximity to residences were raised during a public hearing on the 23 West Ash St. request, with one member of the public who lives nearby saying “I just don’t feel it’s appropriate.”

Harvey noted that “at this point in time, after looking at a proposed retail use, you can’t look at the retail use and say ‘This is putting a commercial use right in the middle of residential.’ That’s what you should have said … at the rezoning stage.”

A special Planning Commission meeting and public hearing was scheduled for 7 p.m. July 27 to consider a marijuana-related special land use permit/preliminary site plan application for a property at 6741 West U.S. 12.

After the meeting Harvey said there are about 10 applicants for marijuana-related businesses that have received preliminary approvals from the Planning Commission. The next step in the process, a bidding period, is scheduled for July 19-29. After that the Village Council will decide who receives licenses under the Marihuana Ordinance (the number of licenses in some areas is limited – for instance there is a maximum of two retail licenses allowed under the ordinance).

Also during the July 6 meeting, the Planning Commission recommended that the Village Council add an amendment to the existing Zoning Ordinance under Off-street Parking & Loading to include the following language: “The Planning Commission may approve a parking plan with more or fewer spaces than allowed/required in consideration of documentation from the applicant that the parking proposed on the site is sufficient to meet the parking needs of the patrons and employees of the proposed use.”

The recommendation grew out of planners’ experiences with a series of retail marijuana applications being unable to include what seemed like adequate parking for the expected number of customers and employees due to limitations imposed by the existing ordinance.

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