By Joseph Lekarczyk
In the interest of full disclosure, let it be known that the author of this article is married to the Mayor.Everything moved along pretty much as expected at Monday night’s Board of Trustees (BOT) meeting. That was until just before ten o’clock, when Administrator Victoria Simonsen “mentioned” in her staff report that one of the medical marijuana centers had given the Town notice that it wanted to relocate to a new location, and another had notified the State Authorities, but not Town Officials that it had sold the business, and transferred ownership. Also surprising was the fact that neither of the two medical marijuana businesses in question was Headquarters, which is located within a thousand feet of Lyons Elementary School, and had been given, per ordinance passed by the BOT last month, until the end of 2011 to find a new location.
The dispensary planning to re-locate, was Lucky Farms, currently located at the top of 5th Avenue in the Lyons Excavation building. According to Simonsen, owner Sean Welch is planning to move the retail aspect of his business into an empty storefront at Lyons Village Central (the Shopette) next to the Bud Depot (another dispensary). Simonsen also told the Trustees that Lyons Finest Confidential Care (a.k.a. Tumbleweeds, located at the bottom of Stone Canyon) owner Dan Ballard had sold his interest in the dispensary without giving the Town a thirty-day notice, as required by the recently passed ordinance. Simonsen indicated that the new owner, Daniel Yim, a businessman from Denver, was remodeling the building to bring it into compliance with State regulations by July 1, but was also selling product. This development did not sit well with the members of the BOT, and they gave Simonsen directions to tell the Boulder County Sheriff’s Office to notify the new owner to “cease and desist!” It was agreed that Yim could continue to remodel, but could not sell any medical marijuana, until such time as the transfer of ownership was approved. The July 18, BOT meeting was given as the date when the hearing would be held.
Otherwise, it was a fairly routine agenda. Lyons Substation Supervisor Sgt. Kevin Parker informed the Board that things had gone relatively smoothly during the Outdoor Games, and he anticipated much the same for the upcoming Good Old Days celebration. No one spoke during audience business, however the planned forty-five minutes allotted to finish the second reading and discussion for an ordinance concerning the Commercial Eastern Corridor zone, bogged down and ran more like an hour and forty-five minutes. It was agreed that a subcommittee made up of two members of the Planning and Community Development Commission (PCDC), two members of the Economic Development Committee (EDC), a staff liaison, and a BOT liaison would be tasked with developing criteria for conditional use, i.e. design standards/guidelines, site plan review, performance standards review, etc. Their recommendations will be expected to be presented to the BOT by the end of October. There was again a lot of discussion on the set backs, both side and rear. It was agreed that the rear would be twenty-five feet, and the side would be five feet.
Trustee Ed Bruder felt as if the provision in the ordinance to have “formula businesses” (read franchise businesses) as conditional use, rather than use by right, would be perceived by the business community and developers as anti-business, and business unfriendly. He also felt that it was contrary to the EDC’s recommendations, and the Town’s Comprehensive Plan stated goals to expand the commercial base and increase sales tax revenues. Trustee Kathy Carroll agreed with some of Bruder’s points, but the idea of deleting the formula business language didn’t gain much traction with anyone else. Trustee Kathy Jacobson made an impassioned argument that the Comp Plan spoke as much to maintaining small town character and unique feel as it did to developing a larger commercial base, and she added, that small town character and unique feel were values that once lost, could never be found again. In the end, the Board passed the ordinance with a 6 – 1 vote (Bruder being the dissenting vote).
The consent agenda, consisting of the April financials and Clerk & Treasurer’s report, the June 6, BOT meeting minutes, the May 2, BOT meeting minutes, and the May 23, special BOT meeting minutes were passed with a 6 – 0 vote (Carroll abstained because she wasn’t present at one of the meetings). During general business, the time line for putting an item for voter approval on the November ballot was discussed. Trustee LaVern Johnson expressed a desire to put a small increase on the local sales tax to fund things like the museum, visitor center, et al, but noted that “times are still hard, with unemployment and foreclosures, so the voters would probably turn it down. Bruder suggested putting an initiative on the ballot to see if the residents of Lyons would be willing to give up their right to vote on annexations of “non-residential” parcels of over five acres. Again, this idea didn’t gain much traction among his fellow Trustees. Mayor Julie Van Domelen strongly opposed this idea, saying there was little chance that residents would vote to give up something many perceive to be a right. She didn’t think that keeping the “over five acre vote” intact would actually impede commercial growth, since there are only a couple of parcels that would fall into that category (one being the decommissioned water plant east of town). When the Trustees reiterated (this was discussed in January) that they were willing to look into the matter as a Board action, later this year, Bruder let the issue die without making a motion. The Trustees then passed a resolution adopting the 2011 Colorado Municipal Records Retention Schedule, but instructed Clerk Deb Anthony to notify the State that Lyons would retain audio records for two years, instead of the State and Staff recommended six months. Van Domelen postulated that perhaps “getting a better quality audio record was more vital than how long we keep them.”
Since it was now a little after ten o’clock, the Mayor said she would institute her new policy of not starting executive sessions after ten, bringing a huge sigh of relief from everyone. The planned executive session was postponed until the July 5 (the Fourth of July is a Monday) meeting, and a motion to adjourn was made.