By Joseph Leckarcyzk
In the interest of full disclosure, let it be known that the author of this article is married to the Mayor.
Now that the medical marijuana issue is officially on the April ballot, the Planning and Community Development Commission (PCDC) and the Board of Trustees (BOT) have a new “hot potato” to toss around during their meetings. And the new potato is whether or not to remove the public vote on non-residential five-acre annexations into the Town of Lyons.
A couple of weeks ago the BOT had the item on the agenda, for a first reading, with the idea that they would get recommendations from the PCDC and the Economic Development Commission (EDC) about whether to put the issue to a voter referendum on April’s BOT election ballot, or to just have the BOT decide for themselves about amending the five-acre annexation ordinance. But, quite quickly, as everyone knew it would, this proposal stirred up a lot of passion within (and outside as well) some segments of the electorate. A special BOT meeting for the second reading and public hearing was originally scheduled for Monday, January 30. But, at the January 17 BOT meeting, it was determined that not only wasn’t everyone on board with this proposal, many felt that more information, i.e. recommendations from the PCDC and EDC, plus a more settled determination of the Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) and a completion of the new design standards, site review plans, and criteria for the yet to be fleshed out Commercial Eastern Corridor (CEC) zone, which is now referred to as the Gateway Corridor, needed to be in place before taking action themselves, or putting it to a vote.
So, the first reading was continued until sometime before March 1, with a special workshop (with public input) to be scheduled sometime in February. The second reading and public hearing, January 30 was canceled. The PCDC met Monday night (January 23), and came up with a recommendation that the BOT wait until said IGA, design standards, and criteria are in place. The EDC will probably meet this Friday (January 27) to formulate their recommendations. The Mayor is in Africa, nobody else (except Trustee Ed Bruder) is anxious to deal with this, and Administrator Victoria Simonsen says that the February meeting schedule is full. At this juncture, it is unclear when exactly this special workshop (with public input) will take place. But it is certain this five-acre issue will not be on the April ballot.
The BOT basically has three options. One, leave everything as it is. Two, amend the five-acre ordinance themselves. Or three, put the issue to a special voter referendum at some point in the not-too-distant future. Only option one will stay the onslaught of shrill and strident opinions being blown around town like autumn leaves. This is a difficult story for me to cover, because of the aforementioned disclaimer. I know how the Mayor feels, but am hesitant to print it because I don’t need the aggravation, and I don’t want to appear biased. So, to that end, I am recommending that anyone who may be concerned about this issue, pick up the latest edition of the Redstone Review (it’s also not easy to recommend that you read the competition’s paper) and read not only the Mayor’s explanation of why the Board of Trustees is considering this action, but feel free to read the letter to the editor, with an opposing view, by Ric Breeze about this issue. Get the facts, come to the special workshop (with public input) and let your Trustees and Mayor know how you feel on this issue. In the end, unless they keep everything as it is, it’s most likely going to come to a vote one way or the other. So get informed.