Last year, Lyons had granted a total of seven applications for dispensaries (five were open, two pending). Since the new laws went into affect on August 1, three have either closed their doors or let their license application lapse. Tumbleweed (near Stone Canyon), Bud Depot (Lyons Village Central), Lucky Farms (top of 5th Avenue near Steamboat Valley Road), and Headquarters (Main Street/3rd Avenue) are the only ones left (Headquarters is currently undergoing renovation work).
In the election last week, many towns, counties, and municipalities in Colorado banned outright, dispensaries and grow operations. Lyons has not chosen to go down that route. But there are concerns, in some corners, that Lyons might become an “oasis” for those who wish to continue to operate in the medical marijuana business. The PCDC is determining what steps they will recommend to hopefully alleviate those fears.
Two suggestions that brought about the most discussion Monday night were the banning of further dispensaries on Main Street between 3rd and 5th Avenues, and whether to allow grow operations in agricultural zones as a conditional use. The former was not well received by those in attendance who are currently involved in the industry. The latter presents some tricky challenges, since according to new state laws, grow operations are entitled to a certain amount of anonymity about where they are located yet part of the conditional use permit process requires public hearings. Another issue that arose which might need a legal opinion, was whether or not the Town of Lyons could put “content” restrictions on the signage of dispensaries, etc. Currently restrictions only apply to size, height, lighting, etc.
In the end, the PCDC agreed to hold a public hearing on the issue on November 22, at 7 p.m. in Town Hall. They hope that any and all citizens who have thoughts, concerns, and ideas about how Lyons should proceed on this issue will take the time to make themselves heard. In the past, the feeling among PCDC members and elected officials has been that they may have only heard from people actually connected to the industry, and are not getting the community pulse.
Prior to the PCDC workshop, the BOT held a workshop of their own to discuss and go over the General Fund and Parks & Rec. Fund portions of the 2011 budget. The Utility Funds (water, sewer, and electricity) were discussed two weeks ago. According to Administrator Victoria Simonsen, the General and Parks & Rec. Funds, which have been running negative balances over the last few years, are doing a little better. She noted that if the Trustees would consider transferring about $20,000 of GoCo (Colorado Lottery money) for which the Town receives annually from special projects, to operating expenses (which is allowed) “the Parks & Rec Fund will be in the black.” Simonsen also noted “the only Parks & Rec. capital expense budgeted for 2011 was around $10,000 for a new mower.” She also indicated that because of a lack of time, they were only able to get to the “revenues” side of the equation for the General Fund and that the “expenditures” side would be examined in a workshop scheduled prior (5:30 to 7 p.m.) to the November 15 BOT meeting.