The proposed location for the center is the 3700 block of West 32nd Avenue.
All in a Day's Play, a day care, is located on the same street.
9Wants to Know used GPS to measure the distance between the marijuana center and the day care. We found less than 800 feet separate the two businesses. That violates Denver Ordinance 39, which regulates medical marijuana centers.
The ordinance, which took effect on March 1, 2010, was adopted unanimously by the Denver City Council. It states: "Dispensaries cannot reside within 1,000 feet of a school, day care establishment, or residentially zoned area."
Ashley Trumbull and Colette Hansen opened their daycare on West 32nd Avenue in 2009. They say the "family feel" attracted them to the neighborhood.
"Kids are walking up and down the street all the time," Trumbull said. "This strip really represents this neighborhood."
Hansen says she was shocked when she opened a local newspaper and found an advertisement for The Clinic Highlands, scheduled to hold a grand opening celebration on June 20.
"It was almost a full-page ad on page five," Hansen said. "And that's how we found out."
The location of the medical marijuana center was approximately one block from their day care center.
"Wow," Trumbull said. "How did we not know, as business owners, that this was happening just down the street from us?"
"They're supposed to be 1,000 feet away from education facilities," Hansen said. "How did the rules get broken?"
The Clinic's website features videos and the addresses of two locations already open on the 1400 block of South Holly Street and the 4600 block of East Colfax Avenue.
9Wants to Know reviewed the Clinic's license application and a letter, dated July 26, 2010, from a Denver business license inspector. Both the application and the letter failed to mention the day care. The letter did mention the Emmaus Lutheran School, on the 3100 block of Irving Street, is 1,126 feet from the Clinic.
The Clinic's spokesperson, Aubrey Cornelius, declined to make anyone available for an interview with 9Wants to Know, but she did email us a statement: "We are working with the city to remain compliant with all regulations and hope to work with the day care to resolve this issue and open in the area soon."
A spokesperson for Denver's Department of Excise and Licenses told 9Wants to Know the Clinic's owner has only been issued an inspection card, which comes before a license. We've also learned the city sent an inspector to re-measure the distance from the marijuana center to the day care. That inspector also found the distance is about 800 feet.
"I would have thought at some point along the line, somebody would have been like, 'Wait a minute,'" Trumbull said. "I'm hoping it's an oversight from the city and not a clear disregard for the law that's been set up."
Trumbull and Hansen vow to keep fighting to keep the marijuana center from opening.
"I think it could hurt the general neighborhood," Trumbull said. "Parents looking to move in might think twice if just down the street is a dispensary."
9Wants to Know has learned, now that city inspectors are aware of the distance from the day care, the Department of Excise and Licenses could refuse to issue a license. A Clinic employee told us off-camera that the dispensary owners are trying to work out a deal privately with the city and other businesses on West 32nd. If they cannot come to an agreement, the Clinic Highlands may have to find a new location.
(KUSA-TV © 2011 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)