by Joseph Lekarczyk
In the interest of full disclosure, let it be known that the author of this article is married to the Mayor.The main event at Monday night’s Board of Trustees (BOT) meeting wasn’t the public hearing for the 2012 Town of Lyons budget (it never is). It was, of course, the medical marijuana issue (no surprise there). At issue,was whether or not to allow Headquarters, which by law must relocate by December 14 to a site outside the 1000-foot limit from a school, an extension of the deadline in order to remodel their future location (the building which currently houses the Red Hill Motorcycle WERX).
Headquarters owner Ashley Rheingold and her lawyer notified the Trustees that they have been in contact with Town staff, in order to obtain the building permits necessary for remodeling the new location. They will need to install security systems, construct a wall enclosing a staircase, and they plan to do some needed sewer line repairs.
Because negotiations were slowed down due to the petition to ban all medical marijuana businesses within Town limits, and because of the Christmas and New Year’s holidays, Rheingold and her attorney asked that the December deadline be extended to January 14. They reasoned that with the holidays, the uncertainty that goes along with any remodel project, and since school was not going to be in session between December 16 and January 4, it would only mean a few extra days of being in close proximity of the school, and therefore would be a reasonable compromise.
Trustee Kathy Carroll was not comfortable with the 30-day extension, and peppered the lawyer and Town Staff member Jacque Watson with questions about what exactly needed to be done, how long it would take to pull a building permit, how long it would take to pass inspection, etc. She also said that she felt the Board had made a promise to the town residents, and a next-door neighbor who is attempting to sell her house, to relocate Headquarters no later than December 14. Trustee Kirk Dovish felt similarly, and noted that many businesses that decide to remodel often shut down the business during the remodeling process. Mayor Julie Van Domelen was also in the same camp, adding that she was more comfortable granting an extension if it only went until January 4, when the school reopened. Trustee Ed Bruder indicated he felt the patients’ needs to obtain their medicine was paramount, and since school was going to be out of session, it would be a good compromise to allow the extension to January 14. Trustee LaVern Johnson cited the difficulties and uncertainties involved with a remodel, and agreed with Bruder that January 14 would be acceptable. Trustee Sandy Banta made a motion to extend the relocation deadline to January 14, which was seconded by Johnson.
During the ensuing discussion, Udovich asked if a “friendly amendment” could be added to make the deadline January 4; Banta was reluctant to accept the amendment, and Van Domelen, citing Parliamentary procedure, asked that an amended motion be voted on. This led to a discussion with Town Clerk Deb Anthony and Town Attorney Tim Cox about proper procedure, Robert’s Rules of Order, and such. It was finally determined that the Mayor was right, and an amended motion to extend the deadline only until January 4 was voted on. It failed 3 to 4, with Van Domelen, Udovich, and Carroll voting yes, and Bruder, Johnson, Banta, and Trustee Kathy Jacobson voting no. The Mayor then called for a vote on the original motion (to extend the deadline until January 14), and this passed 4 to 3, this time with Van Domelen, Udovich, and Carroll voting nay. A jubilant audience (about eight to ten people) erupted with applause, with one member voicing, “This is how democracy works!”
Van Domelen restored order, and moved on to the next item: the transfer of a medical marijuana business license from Rocky Mountain Indoor Gardening (doing business as The Bud Depot) and Headquarters. The negotiations for this has also been slowed by the petition to ban, but the lawyer asked that the transfer be approved and if the ban was successful, they would, of course, comply, and if the ban referendum fails, the plan was to consolidate the two medical marijuana centers into one, thus getting the town down to its desired two dispensaries (Headquarters and Lyons Finest Confidential Care – at the bottom of Stone Canyon). There was some discussion about state regulations, whether or not to add a deadline for the transfer, if the consolidation could be part of the approval (turns out it can’t), etc. A motion to approve (giving them 30 days after the April referendum to complete the sale) was made and seconded, no amendment was requested this time, and the transfer was approved in a 7 to 0 vote. The audience cleared out, and it was on to more mundane items, like the budget.
To a now empty room, the Trustees approved the consent agenda, consisting only of the November 21 meeting minutes and the November accounts payable. Under general business, the Board directed Administrator Victoria Simonsen to start the procedure for drafting an ordinance to change the water/wastewater rates (Good news, it looks like your water rates will be going down! Must be an election coming up next year.) Town Engineer Jim Blankenship gave a presentation about the proposed capital improvements projects plan for the next five years, and the BOT approved an amendment to the contract for a Technical Energy Audit proposal with Honeywell Building Solutions. Then four public hearings concerning resolutions for the Town of Lyons 2012 budget were held (no one spoke because no one was present). Basically they were: designating and defining an emergency reserve; a summarization of expenditures and revenues for each fund, and adoption of the budget, levying a general property tax; and appropriating money to the various funds.
Staff and Trustee reports were given; the Mayor appointed long time Lyons resident and former Planning and Community Development Commission member Marty Hine to the Utilities and Engineering Board. The meeting was then adjourned.