EDITORíS DESK: Throwing darts in the dark

       The city has zoning rules in mind for the medical marijuana industry. The City Planning Commission has recommended standoff distances of 1,000 feet to make certain that attendees at schools, preschools, colleges, daycare centers and alcohol or drug treatment facilities are not morally or physically damaged in any way.
       City Council is expected to make a final decision on such distances at its two meetings Dec. 13-14 (actual public hearing and vote Dec. 14). The MMJ industry has howled bloody murder at such distances. An example is the Westside Wellness Center dispensary on Bott Avenue, which is 960 feet from a daycare center. The place is literally a block away. Neither entity can even see each other. Yet there it is. If the law passes at 1,000 feet, the center would appear to be out of business.
       If that seems a little extreme to you, then consider another distance aspect (as scrutinized in this issue of the Westside Pioneer - see table on Page 10). Out of the 29 operating dispensaries on the Westside, 19 are 500 feet or less (actually 100 feet or less) from residences, with 9 of them next door to homes. Some might even house the very same children who are being protected at the schools, preschools and colleges. Does this sound right? True, dispensaries aren't allowed in residential zones, but on the Westside (especially Colorado Avenue), we have mixed-use zones where businesses and homes are often side by side. Yet, I've recently learned, the City Attorney's Office has advised against residential standoffs because such regulations aren't covered in the state statutes and the city's doing so would lead to "complicated and inconsistent" enforcement. Now, I'm not going to argue with a city attorney, but I thought we were a home-rule city. The respondents to the OWN survey (see Page 1) seemed to want liquor store-type laws. Just because the blindfold-wearing dart-throwers in the state offices didn't think of that doesn't mean Colorado Springs should put on blindfolds too.

- K.J.