Loyal Side Streets readers — both of you — may have missed the headline recently involving would-be developer, allegery doctor Kristine Hembre.
You may remember Hembre. She’s the 50-year-old owner of Elle Development Co. She wanted to build a subdivision, called Horizon View, along Mesa Road north of Uintah Street.
She planned to remove an old, existing house and build five modern, two-story houses on the five-acre parcel.
Neighbors vehemently opposed her. They cherish the rural flavor of their tiny Rawles Open Space neighborhood, as it is known. They said the style of homes, density and even her plans for city water and sewer would ruin the character of the place.
Hembre spent three years and hundreds of thousands of dollars on her subdivision. She hired former City Councilman Bill Guman to plead her case before the City Council in April 2009. And she was frustrated and angry when the Council told her to go back and work with neighborhood opponents on a compromise.
A few months later, she dropped her plans.
Police say she found a new project for her property at 1635 Mesa Road.
On Oct. 2, Hembre and two men were arrested after 83 marijuana plants were discovered and seized during a police raid at the house. Detectives reported finding an “elaborate” marijuana growing operation in the basement.
Colorado Springs Police said they obtained a search warrant based on a tip about someone illegally growing marijuana. They also checked utility records and found spiking electrical use at the house.
In addition to the plants, police found 1 ounce of marijuana and a shotgun.
Police arrested Hembre and a man they described as her boyfriend, Jordan Liken, 25, on suspicion of cultivating marijuana.
In addition, police arrested Liken’s roommate, Aaron Cavanaugh, 28, on suspicion of sexual assault and contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Cavanaugh allegedly gave marijuana to a 16-year-old girl. Police also say he had sex with the girl.
I asked Police Det. Jim Rodgers if this was just a case of tenants taking advantage of a landlord and maybe Hembre had no idea there was a pot-growing operation at the house on Mesa.
“She was aware of what was there,” Rodgers said. “She lives at another address but she sometimes spent the night at the Mesa house.”
Rodgers said Liken tried to defend the operation as a legal medical marijuana production site.
“He didn’t have any of the paperwork necessary to show it was a legal operation,” Rodgers said.
Even if her boyfriend had a medical marijuana growing license, it would be illegal for Hembre to be involved, Rodgers said.
“State law prohibits it,” he said. “No physician can have a stake in a medical marijuana operation.”
He said Hembre was arrested at the scene with her boyfriend, his roommate and the juvenile.
A biography on the Pikes Peak Allergy & Asthma website describes Hembre as a board-certified allergist and immunologist. She also is certified in internal medicine.
I e-mailed Hembre to get her side of the pot bust story.
Here is her response received late Wednesday:
“I don’t like your reporting style. Sorry not interested.”
Ouch. I didn’t even know I had a style.