By Joseph Lekarczyk
In the interest of full disclosure, let it be known that the author of this article is married to the MayorOn paper (in this case the agenda) it seemed rather straightforward. Ashley Rheingold, owner of Headquarters, a medical marijuana center (mmc) located at 310 Main Street, was asking the Board of Trustees (BOT) at Monday night’s meeting, to approve the relocation of her business
to the building that currently houses Red Hill Motorcycle WERX just east of town. Also on the evening’s agenda was a request by Rheingold to approve a transfer of business license from The Bud Depot (another mmc, located in the Lyons Village Central Plaza) to Headquarters. Both items would have seemed to be “no-brainers” since Headquarters’ proximity (within a 1,000 feet) to the school (they have until the middle of next month to move) and the Board’s stated desire to get the number of dispensaries down to an idealized total of two, were major concerns for a certain sector of the public. Approving these two items would have essentially accomplished both goals.
However, things seldom go according to plan. On Thursday, November 17, Town Clerk Deb Anthony received a petition asking that the ban of all medical marijuana businesses within the Town of Lyons be put before the voters during the April 2012 municipal election (it’s important to note, this would not ban the use of medical marijuana, which is constitutionally allowed in Colorado, it would only ban medical marijuana centers, grow operations, and the manufacturing of infused products). Because of this latest development, Headquarters’ lawyer David Eisenstein asked the Board to approve the relocation, and allow the center to continue doing business at its present site until after the April vote (if it failed, they would then move to the new location), or to table the approval of the relocation, allow Headquarters to continue operating at its present site until after the election, and then revisit the relocation approval if the measure to ban doesn’t pass. Both options sounded similar, and led to some confusion on the Board. If you’re not too confused already reader, the only difference would be when the Trustees would approve the relocation; before or after the April election.
This of course led to some lively discussion. Trustee Kathy Jacobson asked if a precedent had already be set earlier this year when Lucky Farms (yet another mmc) owner Shawn Welch asked for similar leeway (and was denied) in relocating his business (at that time no petition had been filed, there was only a rumor that one was in the works). Trustee Kathy Carroll opined that she didn’t feel there was any “material difference with the Lucky Farm request.” Mayor Julie Van Domelen noted that this is an inherently risky business, and added, “ in for a penny, in for a pound.”
She questioned how concerned Rheingold was about the potential for a ban, if she were considering the purchase of The Bud Depot’s license, which was the next item on the agenda (the lawyer explained that this too might be on hold because of the petition). Van Domelen also cautioned Rheingold that by approving an extension of the deadline for moving Headquarters, the Board might inadvertently stir up the flames of opposition, and adversely (to Rheingold’s way of thinking) affect the outcome of the vote. Surprisingly, Trustee LaVern Johnson (never a proponent of medical marijuana centers) piped up that she felt in the interest of fair play, and supporting businesses in Lyons, that Headquarters should be allowed to operate in its present location until after the vote. Not surprisingly, Trustee Ed Bruder (long a champion of medical marijuana, and a former dispensary owner) agreed with Johnson. He added, “my initial feeling is that the bringing forth of this petition brought forth this (timing) problem.” Jacobson then suggested a compromise, “close the current site by mid-December, and extend the 90 day deadline to reopen at the new location until after the April vote (about 120 days). Trustee Sandy Banta suggested allowing the dispensary to continue to do business until after the election, but constructing a better, higher fence along the back property line closest to the school. Bruder asked about the possibility of adding short-term security guards at the site as a compromise, and someone noted that “a promise had been made to a neighbor, who is trying to sell a next door property, that Headquarters would be moving no later than mid December.”
In the end, it was decided to continue the discussion, and public hearing, until the December 5 Board of Trustees meeting. There could be a big crowd at that one, get there early.
The rest of the meeting was pretty matter of fact. The consent agenda, consisting of the November 7, BOT meeting minutes, and the November 1, special BOT meeting minutes was approved. It was decided to temporarily allow Lyons Communications to continue providing cable TV service until a franchise agreement can be worked out with Town Staff. A resolution to accept the street improvements at the Turner Reed Subdivision (First Avenue) was approved, as was the purchase of equipment and supplies (a new mower, ATV with snow plow, leaf vacuum, etc.) for the Town of Lyons Public Works and Parks & Recreation Departments.