The approval of a sixth marijuana shop in Edgewater came as a surprise to many residents and city leaders, who thought zoning and buffer zones constricted the number of businesses to five.
Now Edgewater City Councilman Kristian Teegardin is pushing to cap the number of pot shops at six in the one-square-mile city. “After this, how can we not be sure another marijuana store won’t find a way to get into Edgewater?” Teegardin said. “I’m fine with six, but do we really need any more?”
Native Roots squeezed its way through zoning requiring 500-foot buffer zones between pot shops, schools, child care and correctional facilities when it put in an application for a store at 5610 W. 20th Ave.
The site plan received final approval last fall; the spot is roughly 700 feet from an elementary school.
Teegardin agrees the current stores have operated with little to no negative impacts.
In Edgewater, 73 percent of residents voted yes on Amendment 64. They were the first in Jefferson County to see recreational stores open and are one of few cities in the state allowing the stores to stay open until midnight.
But Teegardin says the proximity of the pot shop to a school has prompted concern from residents.
“Because marijuana has been illegal for 80 years, and Edgewater is a city taking the lead on retail marijuana, I thought it prudent to address this experiment with incremental change,” Teegardin said. ” ‘Too much too soon’ is my sentiment.”
He brought up the issue at a recent study session but couldn’t find the support to move forward with the proposal. Opposing members said they’d prefer that market forces determine the number of shops. It was agreed the issue would be revisited every six months.
Edgewater Mayor Bonnie McNulty said she would like to see marijuana businesses treated and zoned like liquor stores and restaurants.
“Why fix something that’s not broke,” McNulty said. “These stores provide taxes for city needs with no associated crime; however, we’ve had several bank robberies the last few weeks. We get almost nothing from banks — no sales tax, no property tax — but we have to spend money protecting them.”
Teegardin is still pushing for the six-store cap.
“I’m putting it on record at our next meeting to have an ordinance drawn on this,” he added. “I’m not trying to draw controversy with citizens, but six is enough.”
Austin Briggs: 303-954-1729, email@example.com or twitter.com/abriggs