By Joseph Lekarczyk
In the interest of full disclosure, let it be known that the author of this article is married to the Mayor.
Mark Browning, Chairman of the Library Steering Committee, gave the Board of Trustees (BOT) a progress report on the efforts currently going on toward forming a library district, with the eventual goal of building a new library for Lyons. His report was a bit of a wake up call.
According to Browning the law firm, Seter & Vander Wall, which specializes in the formation of library districts and agreed in
January of 2013 to help the Town (on a pro bono basis, with the idea that they would be the firm of record for the district in the event of voter approval), has completely dropped the ball, missed their own self-imposed deadlines for getting the issue on the November, 2013 ballot, and is not returning phone calls or emails. Browning added that in a meeting he had recently with the Boulder County Commissioners, he was informed that Boulder and Larimer County Commissioners thought that Lyons had decided not to pursue the formation of the district, since there had been so little progress made, and none of the information requested by the Commissioners had been supplied. Browning and Trustee Dan Greenburg (Library Steering Committee liaison) informed the Board that over the last two weeks the Steering Committee has been scrambling to play catch-up, and requested that the Town officially sever all ties to Seter & Vander Wall in writing and give the Committee permission to enter into a similar agreement with Lyons & Gaddis, a Longmont law firm.
There was some discussion about contacting Seter & Vander Wall to get a status report and give them a chance to respond to the problems, but both Browning and Greenberg had little confidence that anything would change, and stressed that they could still meet the necessary deadlines if action was taken immediately. The Board agreed and voted accordingly, in a unanimous 6 to 0 vote (Trustee Dawn Weller was absent due to family business).
In other business Lyons Substation Supervisor Sgt. Nick Goldberger reported that the lost hiker up near Button Rock Reservoir had been found. He apparently needed a little “alone time,” and had been on a bit of a “walk about.” Goldberger said that it did give the Boulder County Search & Rescue Team a chance to use all their assets (K-9, air, ATV, equestrian, etc.) and training in a real life situation. He also reported that another swift water rescue was made. This time it was a young mother and her daughter who went tubing without a personal floatation device (life jacket). Come on people, a tube that your child can fall out of when it tips over is of no use in a cold, fast moving river! Goldberger also mentioned a golf cart and UTV, which had been stolen (both were recovered a few blocks away). Apparently the keys had been left in the ignitions. The Sergeant opined that we may live in a small town, but we still have to use a little common sense.
Acting as the Liquor Licensing Authority, the Trustees approved a modification of the Brew Pub License for Oskar Blues. The restaurant/bar will be expanding into the office space formerly occupied by Crispe Insurance. As the BOT again, the Board approved the consent agenda, consisting of the June 17, BOT meeting minutes and the July 2013 accounts payable.
The Trustees then heard a presentation from Ecosystem Services, out of Erie, CO, and Restoration Systems, from Raleigh, NC, who are interested in partnering with the Town of Lyons in setting up a wetlands/river/stream habitat restoration credit system for “resource banking.” Ecosystem Services (the Erie firm) is the firm which several years ago did some habitat mitigation along the banks of the river near the McConnell ponds to improve the jumping mouse habitat. It was an “off set” project for a development that was underway somewhere else in Boulder County. Essentially if a developer or entity cannot “avoid or minimize” impacts at a particular site, they pay for the restoration of habitat improvements at another riparian site in the area (which is how the trees and native plantings along the path near the ponds came about).
The firms wanted permission to work with Lyons Parks & Rec. Director Dave Cosgrove to identify and catalogue possible riparian areas owned by the Town of Lyons that might be suitable for “banking” as credits. The Trustees had questions about how a program like this might hinder future plans for trails and amenities along the river. There was also discussion about granting environmental trusts, who owns what after credits are sold, who is financially responsible for up keep and maintenance, etc. Although Trustee Sandy Banta said she had ethical objections to this “credit” system, she felt that developers should “just do the right thing rather than buy their way out!,” it was decided (5 to 0, Banta didn’t raise her hand) to let Town Staff (Cosgrove, Administrator Victoria Simonsen, and Town Attorney Tim Cox) explore the issue further and report their findings to the Board at a later date.
Next up was a discussion concerning the Town’s possible options and position on recreational marijuana retail businesses (sale, cultivation, manufacturing, and testing). Mayor Julie Van Domelen wanted to get a feel for the Trustees’ leanings about “ban or regulate” options. Trustee Kirk Udovich said since the Town’s desired number of medical marijuana businesses was two, and we still have three, and since this was not about allowing people with medical needs access to their desired medicine, he was in favor of a ban. Trustee LaVern Johnson admitted to being an “old fuddy-duddy” and voiced concerns about the message this sends to our youth. She agreed with a ban. Trustees Connie Sullivan, Dan Greenberg, and Sandy Banta also had concerns about the overall number of marijuana dispensaries (medical or recreational) but did not think that a ban would fly. The Mayor agreed and said, “We should respect the will of the voters.” She noted that in the November, 2012 ballot, Lyons’ voters had approved Prop 64 by a 70 to 30 margin. Van Domelen added, “In my mind the public has spoken.” She said she was against an outright ban, but wanted “stringent regulations” similar to those that are currently in place for medical marijuana. Sgt. Goldberger, said from a law enforcement point of view, he would recommend a ban. The BOT will conduct a workshop prior to their July 15 meeting to discuss: timing options, enforcement, signage, a ban or a moratorium, what the state and other municipalities are doing, voter referendums, etc.
The Trustees and Staff then gave their reports, and the meeting was adjourned.