GARAGE BANNED: Aurora police want clarified ordinance against outdoor, garage marijuana grows


AURORA |  Aurora police are urging city officials to spell out a prohibition on outdoor marijuana grows and grows in attached garages.

At a March 17 public safety committee meeting, Aurora police told city council members they had seen an uptick in both types of grows, with one recent example being an Aurora resident who was growing 75 plants in his backyard.

“We’re not changing the law. We just want to put people on notice very clearly what the limitations are,” said Nancy Rodgers, Aurora’s senior assistant city attorney.

According to city documents, the ordinance would specify that that “outdoors” means “any location that is not entirely contained with a structure that is completely enclosed by walls and a roof.”

The ordinance would also state that residents using attached garages will be breaking Aurora law unless their garage was “lawfully improved and finished for occupancy” in compliance with city code.

Rodgers said the Aurora police wanted to put the ordinance into effect before this summer, when the number of outdoor marijuana grows found in the city tends to increase.

The measure was approved unanimously by public safety committee council members Barb Cleland, Bob Roth and Francoise Bergan.

“To me, this is a no-brainer,” Cleland said.

Last year, Aurora City Council members approved a measure that capped the number of recreational marijuana plants residents can grow in their homes to 12 per household, with half of the plants allowed to be flowering at one time.

Before that, the city allowed six plants per resident, but changed the law after police and fire officials in Aurora reported problems caused by people growing too many plants in their homes.

Those issues included residents with a large number of plants mixing harmful chemicals and fertilizers as well as high humidity level in some homes, especially multi-family units, causing mold to form.

Though the majority of cities in the state defer to Amendment 64 regulations — which allows six plants per resident over 21 years old — Aurora’s  rules for marijuana grows are similar to what has been implemented in Denver, Boulder, Fort Collins and Lafayette.

The measure to clarify the ban on marijuana grows in attached garages and outside still needs to go to a regular city council session for approval.