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Founder of Denver pot spa concept is angry after application was denied over zoning

Posted at 4:43 PM, Jun 02, 2018

DENVER -- Cindy Sovine has spent tens of thousands of dollars to make her dream a reality. She wants to open the nation's first pot spa. She calls it Utopia: All Natural Wellness Spa & Lounge.

"When you first walk into the door, you were going to walk into the retail section where you would be able to access hemp products," Sovine explained. "Puff and paint, karaoke, comedy. All the things you mix with alcohol today, cannabis consumers mix in a social environment. It's a place for them."

She found what she thought was the perfect location, the old Creswell Mansion off Grant Street near the Colorado State Capitol in the Capitol Hill neighborhood.

Sovine says she spent tens of thousands of dollars moving forward before the city decided to deny her application.

The site sits 981 feet as the crow flies from a day care facility off Lincoln Street. The city requires marijuana businesses to be at least 1,000 feet. That means just 19 feet are stopping Sovine from opening up shop.

"I'm incredibly disappointed with the city's stance in terms of what they're willing to do and not do for businesses," she said.

Ashley Kilroy is the executive director of the Office of Marijuana Policy. She told Denver7 that the zoning restrictions are nothing new.

"It's been in place since 2011 related to marijuana dispensaries," she said.

Sovine showed Denver7 a letter from the very daycare causing the controversy.

"They do not have any concerns with this business and they do not want to be the reason for it to be denied," she said.

Sovine also said she has overwhelming support from the surrounding community with paperwork to back it up.

For now, Kilroy isn't budging.

"We can't treat her anymore favorably than anyone else," she said. "We work with the applicants. We help guide them through the process. A lot of times they'll find a new location."

Sovine isn't interested in a new location and thinks the city could do more to accommodate her. She plans to go to City Council to address the permit denial if nothing changes.