By J. Graber
Scottsdale’s only marijuana cultivation site could soon more than triple in size.
The Scottsdale Planning Commission voted 6-1 July 13 to recommend the city council approve a conditional use permit application to allow cultivation of marijuana plants for the Patient Alternative Relief Center at 7640 E. Gelding Drive.
If council approves the recommendation, the facility in the Scottsdale Airpark will grow from 15,000 square feet to 46,550 square feet.
The conditional use permit would also be good for a possible second floor addition to the existing facility at 7655 E. Evans for an office.
Planning Commissioner Barney Gonzales was the lone vote against the recommendation. He took issue with the second-story office.
“I’m normally not too concerned about the use of the property, but I have a problem putting in a conditional use permit on a yet-to-be-done remodeling of the second floor. I would support this permit if we could pull out the second-story permit for now.”
The current facility has been in operation since 2013. It expanded in 2019 to include the neighboring 7645 E. Evans.
The facility would put less of a burden on traffic and parking than its previous use because it is a wholesale outlet, owner Bob Chilton says.
“We are not a retail dispensary,” Chilton says. “We do not sell to the public. We do not have visitors. We do not have patients. We do not have clients of any kind. We are a pure wholesale facility, not a retail facility.”
The city water department does not see the need for a water resources review, according to city project coordination liaison Greg Bloemberg.
When expanded, the facility is expected to use between 2,700 and 2,800 gallons of water per day. Chilton says the facility can get the water use so low by using a computerized sprinkler system, organic fertilizer and a new water recycling system.
“We reclaim the water from the air-conditioning units,” he says. “We reclaim the water from the humidifiers. We reclaim the water that is excess from the plants.”
That will reduce water usage by 58%, Chilton says. That water usage is 15% less than if the new facility were built into a condominium.
“We would use 68% of what a cotton farm would use. … I think we’re playing team ball to try and reduce our water consumption at a very high cost,” Chilton says.
Similarly, the facility will use five different filtration systems to prevent the smell of the plants from leaking to the outside. Air is not vented to the outside, Chilton says.
“We just recycle the same air,” Chilton says. “That reduces our power load because we don’t take 115-degree air and cool it; we just circle the same air around and around and around.”
The expanded facility will also add about 10 jobs as well, he says.
The facility will be gated for security’s sake.
“The police department’s looked at it; the fire department has approved it,” Chilton says.