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Commissioners approve another marijuana conditional use permit

WALSENBURG — Stating, “I’m not sure I’m doing you any favors by approving this,” Huerfano County Commissioner Max Vezzani made the motion at Tuesday’s meeting to approve a Conditional Use Permit for Acme Growers, LLC. Keith Bouchard and Johnny Padilla, representing Acme, had gotten in their CUP application before the new rules had been approved, and so were held to a more lenient standard anyone else following them would be held to. Two problems became quickly apparent with their application; they did not have a source for water, and their insurance for the business was not in place yet. Bouchard noted they had a permit for a domestic use well on site, which would be enough for commercial or agricultural use, but did not have another source, such as hauling water, lined up. Padilla said in their research, they found it might be possible to use ‘graywater’, water that had already been used once for some purpose (other than flushing toilets) but had not yet been recycled. “This could be good for Buffalo Ranch and all of Huerfano County,” Padilla said. The commissioners noted any plan to use graywater must first go

through Colorado water courts. Vezzani asked the two men if they wanted to pull their application for the moment, and come back again when they had secured water and insurance. If it were approved now, they would only have one year to get everything done, or risk losing their permit. They said they wanted to proceed. The commissioners approved the application. In other business, the commissioners had the county lawyer, Garrett Sheldon, draft a response to District Attorney Frank Ruybalid’s demand that Huerfano and Las Animas pay his legal fees bill incurred during his disciplinary hearing. Ruybalid racked up $199,697 defending himself against charges of misconduct brought by the Colorado Supreme Court Attorney Regulation Council. He later plead guilty to 13 of the 35 charges. The commissioners’ response reads, in part, “The county declines to be responsible for any of this demand … Being negligent is not an activity ‘necessarily incurred.’ It is certainly not necessary to be negligent. Nor are these activities incurred in the ‘discharge of your duties.’… Counties benefit when criminals are prosecuted, not when the District Attorney is prosecuted.” As the commissioners read through the two-page letter, Vezzani glanced up and said, “That’s two pages that I could have said in two words.”