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Park City Planners To Consider Location For Possible Pot Processing/Testing Facility

Utah State

The Park City Planning Commission Wednesday will consider something it’s never even considered before – a possible location for a potential medical cannabis production and testing business. At this point, there is no application for such a facility.

With nothing to compare this to, state regulators are treating medical marijuana much like how they regulate alcohol.  There needs to be a certain distance between homes, schools and the sale or manufacturing of mind-altering substances.

The planning commission will be asked to consider a possible zone change for city-owned property, once considered for housing, but now surrounded by alfalfa fields as the city’s first cannabis production and testing business.

City Planning Director Bruce Erickson says with the legalization of medical marijuana, all municipalities must comply. All eight licenses to grow pot were distributed outside of Summit and Wasatch counties. But the city is required to have a location where the product can be processed and tested, just in case.

“We’re not having to make too many changes,” he said. “In order to do that we’re proposing one rezone, if you will, or an overlay zone in order  to have a place to do  cannabis production and testing which is different than a pharmacy. You can sell it out of a pharmacy according to state law which is roughly consistent with how you would do a retail liquor store.”

He says the Land Management Code will need to be changed to designate where primary residential areas are and then staff is proposing an overlay zone on the old Wortley parcel on the north side of 248 across from Richardson Flat road.

’We’ve done some soil storage out there in the past,”  Erickson said. “It’s where the public utilities building was proposed before it was moved to the golf course and  that’s where that where we would propose if there was a processing facility that’s where that would go. So, we’ve met state law theoretically by allowing an area for this use. It’s not anywhere near any residential areas. It’s several thousand feet away  from any house. So that’s kind of the solution we’re bringing forward.”

The acreage is currently zoned for residential development and open space and was originally acquired for housing – but Erickson says it’s too remote. 

If the city is going to do housing – he says they need to do it in the right location, and this isn’t it – even though Park  City Heights is just across the street – and Park Meadows just over the hill.

“There are external costs that are not related to actually constructing a house, “he said. “Like transportation, like bus service, like access to schools, sewer, water – all of those things that are extra and  not necessarily considered in just where you would put a house.”

Park City is also proposing a rezone of  couple of the Bureau of Land Management parcels on Rossi Hill to Recreation Open Space.

The property on which three historic homes sit are currently zoned as estate and historical residential low density. Even though this is one of the densest neighborhoods in town, Erickson says it’s  not a good location for affordable housing.

“ It lives on some pretty steep slope, he said, “and we’re making a decision for the wildlife and for the neighbors because Rossi Hill Road is very narrow and has some difficulties with snow removal – Deer Valley Loop is very narrow and steep and should not have additional density and none of these parcels we’re rezoning are big enough to have density on anyway.  It’s basically remnant mine claims from the 1800s, and so the BLM, when they patented mine claims in the 1800s  had some issue with surveying and where things were and so these are skinny little  narrow triangles.”

The three historic homes he says will be restored – with a bit of additional density for a total of 8 units.

The planning commission will  also consider a rezone for a parcel in Prospector at the rear of  the Silver Mountain Sports Club – currently used as a parking lot. It’s currently zoned as residential.

The applicant is looking to build mixed use commercial on the ground floor and 17 units on top. Erickson says issues to resolve are parking and whether the new uses work with the neighborhood.

The Park City Planning Commission meets Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. in the city council chambers.