Granby moves away from recreational marijuana | SkyHiNews.com

Granby moves away from recreational marijuana

The Granby Board of Trustees announced that they would move toward drafting a town ordinance prohibiting commercial activities related to recreational marijuana at a workshop Tuesday, May 13. The purpose of Tuesday's workshop was to see if the issue would be sent to Granby's voters in an election. But after only two of the 10 speakers supported the idea, Mayor Jynnifer Pierro said the town would move forward with drafting legislation to prohibit recreational marijuana commerce in Granby. Town Attorney Scotty Krob said the town could save $3,000 by bypassing the election. "The next board meeting, or maybe the board meeting after that, we'll have an ordinance drafted," Pierro said. Many of those who spoke against the proposal Tuesday cited Granby's reputation as a family-friendly destination as a reason for keeping recreational marijuana out. "This is a family-friendly town," said Granby resident Natascha O'Flaherty. "And again, we have the unfortunate history of a bulldozer. I would like the history to be 'just say no.'" The few voices in support of allowing recreational marijuana businesses in Granby pointed to the economic benefits that the industry could bring. Jack Gerstein, who owns property in Granby, said the only people who had approached him about renting a vacant building on his property were people seeking to start marijuana-related businesses. "I can't say that I'm pro or for marijuana, but I'd certainly like to get some help to help pay my mortgage," Gerstein said. Pierro and trustees Elaine Henriken, Greg Mordini and David Lockwood all voiced their own opposition to the measure. "I'm not comfortable with it," Pierro said during the meeting. "It's not the vision that I have for Granby." Fraser is currently the only municipality in Grand County to allow recreational marijuana sales. "Grand County approved it, Fraser approved it," Pierro said. "It's not that far to go to get what you need from here." Those in favor or against the ordinance can still voice their opinions at the next board meeting, Pierro said. She also encouraged people to contact the board if they have any concerns. The next board meeting will be May 27. Hank Shell can be reached at 970-887-3334, ext. 19610

Medical marijuana headed for ballot

As it stands, the towns of Fraser and Granby and possibly the Grand County will have medical marijuana questions on the ballot for the November election. Granby board members agreed on Tuesday to let the voters decide whether medical marijuana centers, cultivation operations and marijuana-infused products could be located within town boundaries. In another proposed ballot question, the Town of Granby may ask voters whether marijuana sales should have an additional 5 percent sales tax tacked on, if voters approve the first question. Even if voters vote down the marijuana question, card-carrying medical marijuana patients and their caregivers will be able to possess marijuana under the state’s constitution. Since ballot questions are not certified until Sept. 3, Granby board members will be able to withdraw or change questions until then. Putting the questions on the ballot costs the town less than $1,000 in printing, according to town officials. “I would feel better doing something knowing it’s from the majority of the people,” said Granby Mayor Jynnifer Pierro. Trustee Ken Coatney said he liked the idea of the town of Granby gaining the tax revenue off of marijuana sales, especially if other areas of the county are banning them. With the questions on the ballot, “Maybe we’ll get a better (election) turnout,” said Trustee Deb Shaw. At the county level, commissioners have directed staff to draft language for a marijuana ballot question, but commissioners have not yet given final approval to officially put it on the ballot.

Granby Board annexes land to stop pot shop

Things got a little tumultuous Tuesday night at the Granby Board of Trustees meeting as the Board considered an emergency annexation of property on U.S. Highway 40 to prevent a retail marijuana store from opening. Town residents, business owners, legal representatives and folks from throughout the county and region addressed the board to express their opinions on the matter. The discussion became heated with audience members speaking out during the comments of those they disagreed with; prompting Board members to admonish the crowd for the interruptions on more than one occasion. After a lengthy public comment period, including the reading of 45 e-mails in favor of the proposed emergency ordinance, the Board unanimously approved the annexation. LTTK LLC owns the property in question, located on U.S. Highway 40 north of the Carquest Auto parts store. It is currently being leased by MMK Limited LLC which had intended to open a retail marijuana facility at the site. Prior to annexation the land was part of unincorporated Grand County; an area which allows retail marijuana. Robert Hoban of Hoban & Feola, LLC represented MMK Limited as legal counsel at the meeting and addressed the Board during the public comments period. Hoban urged the Board not to approve the annexation and contended that Granby's annexation of the property in question violates state statutes. "We strongly assert this is not an enclave. The boundaries must be completely surrounded." Hoban went on to say the land directly across U.S. Highway 40 from the proposed annexation property is not part of the town of Granby. "This property is absolutely not an enclave," said Hoban. "You will not prevail in this case. It is a dangerous path which will cost this town legal fees." Hoban & Feola, LLC have filed a lawsuit against the Town of Granby regarding the annexation. That lawsuit is currently pending in District Court. The law firm also plans to file a motion by the end of this week with the Town of Granby to reconsider their decision to annex the property. Jean Gonnell, Special Counsel with the Hoban & Feola law firm explained that if the Town of Granby declines to reconsider their decision the lawsuit will move forward in District Court. Official legal counsel for the Granby Board of Trustees Scotty Krob saw things differently than Hoban. "We disagree with that. The language in the statue says it must be surrounded by the town, not contiguous or adjacent." After the emergency annexation was approved Mr. Hoben commented, "It seems to me that the town council is doing what its constituents want, despite the fact that the law does not allow this type of annexation. It appears that they simply want the court to tell them they cannot go forward and they save face with their constituents." Following the vote the Trustees made statements explaining their decision to annex the property. Granby Mayor Jynnifer Pierro said, "It is our job to represent the majority. This is a democracy and the majority wins. We put it to a vote to find out if people wanted medical marijuana. They voted no. We had open forums where 90 percent of respondents opposed marijuana. Currently this is how the town feels, this is a majority of the citizens." Trustee David Lockwood said, "My job is to the constituents and to the town. I think we have a clear mandate as far as the principal. The town voted against medical marijuana. If there is an argument about definitions then I will leave that to the legal process." Trustee Robin Trainor said, "It is our job to listen to the people. All e-mails we received on the issue were in favor of annexation." During their explanations the Trustees cited Granby's 2010 vote opposing medical marijuana outlets. That vote resulted in Granby residents opposing the establishment of medical marijuana dispensaries with 337 people voting to ban the establishments and 301 people voting to allow them, a margin of 36 votes. When the 2010 advisory vote about medical marijuana facilities was conducted, recreational marijuana use was not legal in Colorado. During the 2012 general election, voters in the two precincts that encompass Granby approved Amendment 64, allowing recreational use of marijuana. That vote, which included hundreds of voters in areas near but outside the town limits, resulted in 909 voters opposing recreational marijuana with 1,053 voters approving the amendment.

Granby Board annexes land to stop pot shop

Things got a little tumultuous Tuesday night at the Granby Board of Trustees meeting as the Board considered an emergency annexation of property on U.S. Highway 40 to prevent a retail marijuana store from opening. Town residents, business owners, legal representatives and folks from throughout the county and region addressed the board to express their opinions on the matter. The discussion became heated with audience members speaking out during the comments of those they disagreed with; prompting Board members to admonish the crowd for the interruptions on more than one occasion. After a lengthy public comment period, including the reading of 45 e-mails in favor of the proposed emergency ordinance, the Board unanimously approved the annexation. LTTK LLC owns the property in question, located on U.S. Highway 40 north of the Carquest Auto parts store. It is currently being leased by MMK Limited LLC which had intended to open a retail marijuana facility at the site. Prior to annexation the land was part of unincorporated Grand County; an area which allows retail marijuana. Robert Hoban of Hoban & Feola, LLC represented MMK Limited as legal counsel at the meeting and addressed the Board during the public comments period. Hoban urged the Board not to approve the annexation and contended that Granby's annexation of the property in question violates state statutes. "We strongly assert this is not an enclave. The boundaries must be completely surrounded." Hoban went on to say the land directly across U.S. Highway 40 from the proposed annexation property is not part of the town of Granby. "This property is absolutely not an enclave," said Hoban. "You will not prevail in this case. It is a dangerous path which will cost this town legal fees." Hoban & Feola, LLC have filed a lawsuit against the Town of Granby regarding the annexation. That lawsuit is currently pending in District Court. The law firm also plans to file a motion by the end of this week with the Town of Granby to reconsider their decision to annex the property. Jean Gonnell, Special Counsel with the Hoban & Feola law firm explained that if the Town of Granby declines to reconsider their decision the lawsuit will move forward in District Court. Official legal counsel for the Granby Board of Trustees Scotty Krob saw things differently than Hoban. "We disagree with that. The language in the statue says it must be surrounded by the town, not contiguous or adjacent." After the emergency annexation was approved Mr. Hoben commented, "It seems to me that the town council is doing what its constituents want, despite the fact that the law does not allow this type of annexation. It appears that they simply want the court to tell them they cannot go forward and they save face with their constituents." Following the vote the Trustees made statements explaining their decision to annex the property. Granby Mayor Jynnifer Pierro said, "It is our job to represent the majority. This is a democracy and the majority wins. We put it to a vote to find out if people wanted medical marijuana. They voted no. We had open forums where 90 percent of respondents opposed marijuana. Currently this is how the town feels, this is a majority of the citizens." Trustee David Lockwood said, "My job is to the constituents and to the town. I think we have a clear mandate as far as the principal. The town voted against medical marijuana. If there is an argument about definitions then I will leave that to the legal process." Trustee Robin Trainor said, "It is our job to listen to the people. All e-mails we received on the issue were in favor of annexation." During their explanations the Trustees cited Granby's 2010 vote opposing medical marijuana outlets. That vote resulted in Granby residents opposing the establishment of medical marijuana dispensaries with 337 people voting to ban the establishments and 301 people voting to allow them, a margin of 36 votes. During the 2012 election Granby approved Amendment 64, allowing recreational use of marijuana and allowing for the establishment of retail facilities. That vote resulted in 909 voters opposing recreational marijuana in Granby with 1,053 voters approving of the amendment, a margin of 144 votes; or approximately eight percent.

Recycling: Granby ready to move forward with in-town recycling site

A plan to restart Grand County’s recycling program was unveiled at Tuesday’s Granby Board of Trustees meeting. Mayor Jynnifer Pierro explained the plan calls for a collaborative effort between local government and private companies. Those planning to participate in the recycling project include the Town of Granby, the Grand County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC), East Grand School District, Valley Recycling and Waste Management. Under the plan, Pierro explained, the East Grand School District has agreed to provide property for the recycling center. It will be located behind Middle Park High School in Granby. The plan was previously discussed at the East Grand Board of Education meeting. To get the site ready for use, the Town of Granby will contribute the use its equipment and personnel to grade and level the ground. Once that is done, the school district will pay to have it paved with asphalt. To secure the site, a fence will have to be erected around it. The school district is currently looking into possible costs and contractors who would be willing to put up the fencing. The Grand County Commissioners have indicated they may provide county funding to pay for it. Collection bins to hold the recyclables at the new recycling center will be donated by Waste Management while Valley Recycling will provide transportation of the recyclables to a collection center in the Denver area. The cost of servicing the bins at the recycling center will be split 50/50 by the Town of Granby and the Grand County BOCC. Snow plowing at the new recycling center will be divided between the Town of Granby and the East Grand School District. The district will plow Monday through Thursday while the town will handle it Friday through Sunday. The insurance policy for the recycling center will be handled by Valley Recycling with the Town of Granby also named on the policy. The Town of Granby will need to pass an ordinance covering the rules for the recycling center’s use by the public and establish fines for those who abuse those rules. The Granby Police will provide enforcement at the site. When the recycling center becomes operational, Pierro said, the plan is for it to accept only four types of recyclables ” aluminum, plastic, cardboard and paper. Glass will not be taken, she explained, because of its weight and low monetary return when taken to the Denver collection point. Pierro said the recycling center would be for “residential use only.” Trustee Ed Raffety questioned why commerical recycling would not be allowed, pointing out that it is a “big part of the problem.” Pierro replied that handling the high volume of commerical reycling would be a “huge expense” and hoped that businesses would “step up” to help solve that problem. After fielding further questions, Pierro said she hoped to bring the recycling plan back to the trustees for their approval in two weeks. In other business Tuesday, the trustees approved two applications by the Granby Commons Holding Company, LCC. Its manager, David Michel, presented the applications for the final planned development plans for the northeast and southeast corners of the intersection of U.S. Highway 40 with Village Road in Granby. He described the proposed projects as a “mixed use, commerical development.” Also during Tuesday’s meeting, Trustee Greg Mordini, who is chairman of the town’s economic development committee, said he believed the town was charging developers “excessively” on their projects. He called for all these fees to be reviewed. Town manager Wally Baird said he also thought the process for getting development projects approved was “cumbersome.” Pierro agreed, saying she thought it could be streamlined. Pierro also told the board that she has been in contact with Jim Wear of Pro Promotions, the producer of the “Salute to American Veterans Rally,” and Fraser/Winter Park Chamber of Commerce director Catherine Ross. The veterans rally has been held for the past two years in the Fraser Valley, but it may not be held there next year unless negotiations are successful this fall. Pierro said she told Wear that “if things didn’t work out, Granby is here.” She said Wear was “very touched that Granby was interested” in possibly hosting the rally.

Lockwood to run for Mayor

Granby Town Trustee and local business owner David Lockwood has announced his plans to run for the position of Mayor of Granby. Granby will hold municipal elections on Tuesday April 5. Lockwood announced his plan to run for mayor on Monday Jan. 11. Granby's current Mayor Jynnifer Pierro announced her intention not to seek reelection on Jan. 5. After Pierro's announcement Lockwood decided to stage a campaign of his own. Lockwood was elected to the position of Town Trustee in 2012. He is currently attending basic training with the National Guard and was unavailable for comment but stated in a press release that he will be back in Granby full-time at the end of January. According to Granby Town Clerk Deb Hess the town has yet to receive any nominating petitions for any board positions in the upcoming April election. Interested parties can still pick up a nominating petition from Granby Town Hall. To be featured on the April ballot prospective candidates must first acquire the signatures of 10 registered electors who are residents of Granby. Nominating petitions must be returned to Granby Town Hall with the requisite signatures by the end of the day on Jan. 25. The April election will be a mail ballot only for Granby. The Town is looking to fill five seats on the board including the position of mayor and four trustee seats.

Verbal agreement made to hire Granby town manager

Granby Mayor Jynnifer Pierro announced she received word that the town manager candidate, to whom the town made an offer, has verbally accepted the job. Although the person’s name has not been released (the town is waiting until a contract is secured), Pierro said that if “all goes well,” Granby should have a new town manager by mid-July. The manager was expected to give his current employer notice last week. Granby has been operating without a town manager since the beginning of January. According to Pierro at Tuesday’s Granby town board meeting, a background and employment check on the individual turned out “squeaky clean and crystal clear.”

Granby officials consider shutting down skate park

Tuesday morning, June 28, the Granby Skate Park was littered with trash. For Mayor Jynnifer Pierro, it was a final straw. Through the “grapevine,” the mayor had heard two 14-year old girls had been offered alcohol at the skate park early the week before, she said, and there were unofficial reports of underaged smoking on the backside of the historic church next to the skate park. And in incidents that may or may not be related to skate-park youth behavior, the Granby Library experienced vandalism in its men’s bathroom last week, which was reported to police, and the pavilion in the town park has had three windows “knocked out” this summer, town officials said. “I get constant complaints about behavior over here that’s not appropriate,” the mayor said. “Every single summer we have to deal with this.” Fed up with a perceived lack of respect for the skate park, Pierro and board members are putting skaters “on notice” that bad behavior could result in shutting down the park. The topic of the skate park is being posted for discussion at the next town board meeting, July 12. At the June 28 Granby town board meeting, trustees were informed about bids to improve existing lighting at the skate park and to add two more 1,000-watt down lights. The improvements would be made using $12,300 left in the Ian Raftshol Memorial Fund, a fund created after 16-year-old Ian was electrocuted in June 2006 by a live wire that was under the water of a pond at the putting green on Highway 34. Raftshol was electrocuted while trying to save his dog, which had become entangled in the wire. The dog survived. Rather than accept a bid to complete the lights project, town officials held off until skate-park users received notice the park’s existence may be in jeopardy. “I have no desire to put more money into (the skate park) the way it’s being treated right now,” Pierro said. “I just think the kids should step up to the plate and keep it clean,” said Ian’s father Jon Raftshol, who was informed of town officials’ perceptions the next day. Patrol of the area has not been as frequent as it has been in the past, according to Granby Police Chief Bill Housley, due to the force’s shortage of officers. Two out of six of the town’s officers are on leave from injuries. Officer Wayne Schafer tore his meniscus of the knee during police training, and Officer Dan Smith broke his ankle when he caught his foot in a freshly dug fence-post hole while he was running in the dark with a fire extinguisher during a recent porch fire in Granby. During the skate park discussion, Trustee Deb Shaw suggested trustees either shut down the park or have cameras erected at the site to better observe skate-park behavior. Trustee Greg Mordini suggested the town place the public, including skaters at the skate park, on notice and put the topic on the next town agenda. Trustee Greg Guthridge noted: “If we shut down the park, they’re going to go somewhere else,” he said. “At least (at the skate park) we know where the kids are.” “But we can’t allow bad behavior,” responded Pierro. – Tonya Bina can be reached at 970-887-3334 ext.19603

Granby rescinds education funding at request of school board

The Granby Board of Trustees on Oct. 11 unanimously agreed to rescind the $20,000 pledge the town made to the to the East Grand Education Foundation in February. “The East Grand school board president called me to ask the trustees to rescind the pledge because they weren’t in dire need of it,” said Mayor Jynnifer Pierro, the day after the vote. “Tax money came into the school district so there was no need to fund it.” The East Grand School District closed its fiscal year in the black due to property owners and developers paying delinquent property taxes. “The board appreciated Granby’s no strings attached grant of $20,000,” said East Grand Board of Education President Tom Sifers, “but in light of the school district realizing they had a better financial year than budgeted, the board felt that Granby could better utilize their dollars in their own budget.” Town officials aren’t disagreeing. “The money was committed from the budget in 2012; now it is off table,” Pierro said, explaining the town can use the money because “we will need to cut $160,000 in next year’s budget to account for the deficit from property taxes.” Reassessed Grand County property values that will be used as a basis for 2012 tax collections are down an average of nearly 19 percent from the previous assessment. In February, the Granby board agreed to pledge $20,000 in town funds toward the community-wide campaign to support East Grand schools in an effort to avoid potential elementary school closings in Fraser and Grand Lake. New board member sworn in Also during the meeting Tuesday evening, new board member David Miller was sworn in. Miller will serve the remainder of Ed Raffety’s term, until the April 2012 municipal election. Raffety, a longtime member of the board, resigned and is moving back to Denver.

Granby may be home to recycling bins under cooperative effort

Aware that the gated Grand County Landfill is off the beaten path enough to discourage unenthusiastic recyclers, county and town officials are looking into relocating bins. Towns and the county are pairing up with the East Grand School District to provide a new recycling facility on school property in Granby. The site would be available to residents as well as the district and would be better suited for travel during winter than the landfill location. It would also create a reminder for students about the importance of recycling, according to East Grand School Board members. “I think it’s really a good lesson to teach all of the children,” said board member Missy Quinn at a district meeting. The community recycling program, of which 50 percent is paid by the county and about 17 percent is paid by each of the towns of Granby, Fraser and Winter Park, would be relocated to a paved area near the district offices and the bus barn. Commercial recycling would not be allowed at the site. County Commissioner Nancy Stuart said the move may occur as early as this fall. Although details are still in the works, Stuart said the negotiated recycling deal between county and towns might also apply to the new location. At Granby’s town board meeting, Mayor Jynnifer Pierro said there would be four bins at the site for the collection of plastic, paper, cardboard and metal. Glass would not be a part of the recycling at this time due to its reduced value. The school district would maintain plowing at the site during weekdays, and the town would plow Friday through Sunday, Pierro said. A Department of Local Affairs grant could be sought for walkways to the site. “I think it’s important to bring it back into town where it will be easier to access,” Pierro said. ” Tonya Bina can be reached at 887-3334 ext. 19603 or e-mail tbina@grandcountynews.com.