In the interest of full disclosure, let it be known that the author of this article is married to the Mayor.
It was standing room only in the council chambers Monday evening for the Board of Trustees (BOT) meeting. On the agenda were the first readings of two ordinances
concerning zoning issues for the sale of medical marijuana, a special events beer permit for a bike race later this month, a liquor license for a new restaurant, and four public hearings dealing with the 2011 Town of Lyons budget. On hand in the audience were three of the four medical marijuana dispensary owners and a few of their supporters, a couple of neighbors of the eatery, a bike enthusiast and a local brewer, an area pastor and his supporters, and a dozen or so Moms Against Marijuana (MAM’s). Apparently none of them were too concerned with local finances. By the time the discussion got around to the budget, only one former elected official, a department supervisor, and two members of the media press were present.
After a pre-meeting workshop with members of the Planning and Community Development Commission to discuss their proposed zoning recommendations for the sale of medical marijuana, the Trustees decided to pull the items from the agenda, saying they would prefer to deal with the issues as a “package” similar to the overlay districts that were instituted recently to deal with the “500 foot rule” for the sale of alcohol. This would allow more time to gather public input.
Deputy Clerk Jacque Watson, who was instrumental in coordinating the effort to come up with the alcohol overlay district, proposed a timeline which would include three public meetings in January of 2011, with stakeholders and interested residents to discuss among other things: repealing the 1000 foot rule; number/density caps; the possible banning of centers on Main Street between 3rd and 5th Avenues; signage; appropriate zones for grow operations, infused products, and centers; rules and regulations for care givers. These meetings would be followed by a first reading of an ordinance on February 7, and if passed, a second reading and public hearing on February 21. If everything goes according to schedule, the ordinances would take effect in late March or early April.
Mayor Julie Van Domelen, after getting a consensus from the Board, directed Administrator Victoria Simonsen to put together a “package” that would deal with the zoning issues, recommendations for the creation of a licensing authority, and the possible creation of an overlay district.
Because the items were pulled from the agenda, Van Domelen allowed those present to speak to the subject during audience business. Curiously, none of the medical marijuana business owners, nor the MAM’s spoke. Only Mickey Lohr, pastor of The River Church took advantage of the opportunity. He cited his work with the youth of the community, and said his experience indicated not only an increase in the number young people using marijuana, but a lowering of the age of the users, indicating it was now middle school aged kids. He asked the Trustees to consider “another option that hasn’t been on the table,” the banning of licensing of medical marijuana centers in Lyons.
It was then onto the alcohol portion of the agenda. No one had any objections to the permit to allow the serving of beer at the Cyclo-Cross bike race on Saturday, December 18, and it passed 6 – 0 (Trustee Kathy Carroll was at a choir recital, and arrived a little later). Ditto the approval of a new liquor license for Dave and Cat Oehlman, proprietors of Smokin’ Dave’s Barbeque and Tap House at 228 Main Street. One neighbor, Ann Schonlau, did express some reservations about parking problems and noise issues, which she felt were not addressed by the previous establishment. Oehlman indicated his desire to be a good neighbor, and invited Schonlau to establish a dialogue with him about any issues that might come up.
Finance Director Jodi McClurkin gave a brief overview of the status of the various funds (General, Parks & Rec., Water, Sewer, and Electric), and the projections for the 2011 budget. All are currently in the black, and unlike in recent years, the projected 2011 revenues are slightly higher than projected expenditures. Maybe that’s why no one stuck around for the budget discussions. Well that’s not quite accurate, former BOT member Peter Baumgartner dropped in, asked a question or two about the Parks & Rec. budget, and whether or not the Town would be charging for parking in Bohn Park in 2011 (yes), and then he too left. Public Works Director Larry Badker stayed to explain why he felt his crew needed a new truck (with a heavy duty frame for a snowplow), and to get direction on whether he should proceed with the “paperwork” for purchasing said vehicle. Since it was not an agenda item, the BOT said they could not authorize the purchase that night. But, the consensus was, were Badker to get the “paperwork” in order, and if the item were to appear on the next agenda, he probably would not have been wasting his time. Per State statute, the Board will hold a special meeting to approve the 2011 budget on Monday, December 13, at 5:30 p.m. in council chambers. Be sure and get there early to get a good seat!
The consent agenda, consisting of the November 15 BOT meeting minutes and the November accounts payable, was approved lickety-split. As was a resolution to amend an Intergovernmental Agreement between the Town of Lyons and the Town of Longmont concerning the Longmont water agreement. The Trustees and Staff gave their reports; Trustee Ed Bruder indicated that things are looking promising at DRCOG for the possible grant to revamp Main Street between the Bank of the West and the McConnell Bridge. Trustee Carroll indicated that the Town was not eligible for a particular energy grant, but that businesses in Lyons could be able to get as much as $5000 for upgrading existing light fixtures (contact Town Hall if interested) and that a grant for installing solar energy collectors on the roof of municipal buildings will not be worth pursuing, since the Town doesn’t have any buildings large enough to qualify. Simonsen told the Board that the chlorine corrosion damage to the pipes at the pump house was not as bad as had initially been thought, everything has been repaired, and the extra chlorine is no longer being added to the system.
She also reported that because of a glitch on the Boulder County end, the Community Eco-Bus Passes have not yet arrived. When they do, and she is hoping to hear any day now, the Town will send out an email blast to all who have signed up and had their photos taken. So far, well over a thousand residents have enrolled in the program. If you have not yet enrolled, and are interested in getting a free bus pass (good to all RTD bus routes including Longmont, Boulder, Denver, and points between, an $1800 value) you can go down to Town Hall on Fridays from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.