The Cortez Planning and Zoning Commission approved a plan Tuesday to build a cannabis growing facility on South Broadway.

Dean Brookie, mayor of Durango and owner of Brookie Architecture and Planning, submitted the application on behalf of his client, Chronic Therapy, a cannabis store in Cortez.

Deva Connolly, associate planner for Cortez, said that the facility will be used for growing cannabis, and customers can’t buy directly from the facility. The Chronic Therapy cannabis store is on the same property.

The growing facility will provide the store with a “reliable source of locally produced product,” Brookie said in a phone interview Wednesday.

The facility would create four or five local jobs, Brookie said.

The growing facility will supply the store in Cortez and another Chronic Therapy store on the Front Range.

Cortez does not have an excise tax, or a tax on outgoing goods, but Brookie said he has suggested the city establish one to increase its tax revenue, particularly with the new growing facility in place.

Two greenhouses will be built on the property, totaling 7,000 square feet of space, Brookie said. Construction will include the planting of trees and shrubs on the property, as well as an improved parking lot and drainage system.

Connolly confirmed during the Planning and Zoning Commission meeting that the proposal for the facility meets the 1,500-foot distance requirement from schools and day care facilities.

Vice-chairwoman Rebecca Levy and commission member Tom Butler added a condition that Brookie Architecture and Planning work with the Cortez Fire Protection District to install a fire hydrant or other fire mitigation near the property after an arson incident that occurred there in 2018.

The fields in the surrounding area are not managed for fires, and commission members expressed concerns that a fire would spread quickly from the building.

The new requirement is “nothing insurmountable,” Brookie said. “We’re excited with the outcome of last night’s meeting.”

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