Proposed WP dispensary
July 22, 2016
There is an application for a retail marijuana store in Winter Park by Serene Wellness. The application has sparked opposition from citizens, the town counsel and Winter Park Resort. Serene Wellness already has locations in Fraser and Empire.
The town of Winter Park will be submitting an official letter of objection to the Grand County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) regarding the retail marijuana license application. The letter states several reasons why Winter Park objects the idea of a dispensary.
In 2010 the Town Council enacted a prohibition on any medical marijuana operations, and a prohibition on any retail operations in 2013. Winter Park, through public hearings and testimony, concluded that marijuana operations are not in the best interest of the health, safety, and welfare of the citizens and guests to the town, according to the letter.
The proposed dispensary would be in the same building as the Valley Hi Motel. According to the objection, due to a surveying error, the motel was omitted from the Winter Park official boundaries when the town was incorporated in 1978. The property was originally to have been included, and has functioned as part of the town using services such as construction and maintenance of parking, landscaping, sidewalks, the Fraser River Trail and snow removal.
The town would experience "all the costs and none of the benefits," the letter states. Winter Park, according to the letter of objection, would not receive any revenue from the business, but would still have to provide law enforcement in the areas surrounding the dispensary.
The proposed location of this facility is located within the Town of Winter Park's Growth Area Boundary, but the marijuana facility is not compatible with the growth and development plan for the town.
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The town has discussed annexing other parts of unincorporated Winter Park, and the dispensary would leave a small, "one-property enclave" of unincorporated Grand County. The town claims they would take action to mandate annexation for this property as allowed under state statute, thus making the business incompatible with the Winter Park Master Plan and the Municipal Code.
The proximity of the proposed dispensary to Hideaway Park and the Fraser River Trail is about one block from the park, and the town feels this is much too close. The marijuana operation would degrade the experience of those coming to visit, according to the town.
If the town were to remove the prohibition on marijuana operations in the future, Winter Park feels it should be done in the interest of the community with public input, community awareness, and attention to detail.