Camp Verde changes zoning for marijuana grow houses, dispensaries

Future marijuana grow house operations in Camp Verde will be limited to facilities in industrial zones, effective June 23. VVN/Bill Helm

Future marijuana grow house operations in Camp Verde will be limited to facilities in industrial zones, effective June 23. VVN/Bill Helm

Other municipalities

In Cottonwood, medical marijuana dispensaries are permitted in light commercial, heavy commercial and heavy industrial zoning districts according to the city’s ordinance code. Medical marijuana cultivation facilities, however, must obtain a conditional use permit with the city.

In Clarkdale, medical marijuana dispensaries are permitted in their central business and commercial zoning district.

CAMP VERDE -- Camp Verde approved an ordinance last week to change the zoning regulations of marijuana grow facilities and dispensaries.

Grow facilities, which are currently permitted to be built in C3 (heavy commercial) zones will be moved to M1 and M2 (industrial) zones. Four of the facilities are currently located in C3 zones. The ordinance will go into effect June 23.

According to a May council staff report, there are five medical marijuana grow facilities in Camp Verde and a sixth one on its way. The report also states that staff often gets inquiries for development of additional grow facilitates. Camp Verde Community Development Director Carmen Howard said she speculates the interest comes from the availability of land in Camp Verde as well as the cost. She said the intent behind changing the ordinance is to preserve highway commercial parcels for development.

“C3 zoning is along the 260 corridor that ADOT just put millions of dollars into fixing up for commercial development,” she said. “While we do have large parcels available, we aren’t getting any more land and there’s been a lot of desire from developers – both residential and commercial – to build along that corridor.”

Howard also said the ordinance complies with Camp Verde’s general plan, which cites strategies that include commercial and retail development along State Route 260.

According to the staff report, “The security factors relating to medical marijuana cultivation would not be compatible with mixed-use and could prevent following up with this land use preference. The 260 East Character Area does indicate ‘quasi-industrial uses’ in their implantation strategy; there are M1-zoned properties available for this use.”

The report also states that staff believes C3 districts are more appropriate for businesses that need highway visibility. The town does not receive revenue from grow facilities and are not huge employment hubs, according to the report.

“Staff proposes C3 zoning districts are more appropriate for businesses that need highway visibility to generate clientele and easier access to their sites, and for those that will generate revenue for the town to provide needed services and contribute to the workforce,” the report states.

While Camp Verde currently doesn’t have any dispensaries, the new ordinance will require them to be permitted within C3 districts. Right now, dispensaries are permitted under C2 (commercial) districts. According to the staff report, C2 districts are intended for general, commercial and retail use. C2 zoning districts in Camp Verde are generally located downtown and along Finnie Flat Road.

“With the potential for future recreational marijuana use allowed in Arizona, [C2] use is not compatible with the general shopping/service and mixed-use nature of the district,” the report states. “Staff believes it would be beneficial for the future of Main Street and for developments of a desirable walkable shopping/dining entertainment to be proactive and remove this use from the C2 zoning district.”

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