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

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.

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.

Hot Sulphur voters support marijuana bans

On Tuesday residents of Hot Sulphur Springs affirmed their support for the existing ban on marijuana-related facilities in the town. Folks in Hot Sulphur Springs were presented with six ballot measures on the ballot exclusively in their community. Advisory Questions 2C, 2D, 2E and 2F asked residents if they supported the existing town bans on retail marijuana stores, marijuana cultivation facilities (growhouses/greenhouses), marijuana product manufacturing facilities and marijuana testing facilities. The four advisory questions were intended to provide town trustees with constituent opinions regarding the bans and to inform any future decisions the trustees might make regarding the ban on marijuana facilities. Additionally, Ballot Issue 2A and 2B asked residents if they approved of the town passing a sales tax and an excise tax on retail marijuana products and cultivation facilities in the event the Board of Trustees allowed such facilities within Hot Sulphur Springs. Ballot Issue 2A and 2B and the taxes proposed in them were applicable if, and only if, marijuana facilities were to be approved by the Trustees at a later date. While the Board of Trustees retains the ability to allow marijuana facilities in their community, if the results of the election are any indication, they will not be approving such facilities anytime soon. Residents approved of the existing ban on retail marijuana facilities with 195 yes votes and 139 no votes. Voters also supported the town ban on marijuana cultivation facilities with 209 yes votes and 123 no votes. Likewise the Hot Sulphur Springs' bans on marijuana product manufacturing facilities and marijuana testing facilities were supported by voters with Question 2E receiving 201 yes votes to 133 no votes and Question 2F taking 212 yes votes to 121 no votes. Ballot Issues 2A and 2B were also voted down, though by much closer margins with Issue 2A receiving 154 yes votes to 175 no votes and 2B receiving 152 yes votes to 175 no votes.

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.

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.

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.

Granby approves skate park improvemnets despite warnings

Skaters at the Granby Skate Park not only have another chance to keep the park tidy, Granby town board members have agreed to new lights and a new concrete perimeter for the park. Since town officials’ frustrations aired two weeks ago about the messy condition of the park, it appeared skateboarders became more considerate on how the park is treated, town officials said at the town board meeting on July 12. Granby Mayor Jynnifer Pierro noted her observations, saying the park has “significantly improved” in terms of litter since town officials posted notices last week that the park was threatened to be shut down due to some skaters’ disrespect for the town facility. At the nudging of one parent, three users of the skate park, Abe Lietzke, 14, Sam Gold, 13, and Gray Thompson, 13, stood at the podium and told trustees they didn’t want the skate park closed. The Granby skate park is the only park with lights on at night, they said, and is a great park – even for beginners. Fraser Valley skateboard coach Ben Schemel agreed the town’s skate park is a gem, but commented it is “under-programmed.” He along with others advocated for another try at holding skate sessions, competitions and/or music events at the park. Youth who formally learn the sport at an early age tend to learn skate park etiquette, Schemel said. Mayor Pierro asked Schemel where he would spend money on the park if it were his choice. Wood chips surrounding the concrete pad of the skate park to stop runaway boards are a hazard, Schemel responded, since wind can carry them into the skating zone and trip up a skater. That’s exactly what happened to him when he used the park that day, he said. The Granby Town Board voted to spend about $12,300 of the remainder of the Ian Raftshol Memorial Fund to improve lighting at the skate park. The brighter night-sky-compliant lighting is planned to be on timers and shut off by 10 p.m. And with funds left over from cost-savings on town sidewalk improvements, town board members were able to vote in concrete pavers to replace wood chips. “We would like to say thank you very much. We’ll keep our promise to keep the skate park clean,” said skateboarder Lietzke, addressing the board after the unanimous vote. Immediately after, he and his friends left the meeting, grabbed skateboards and headed straight to the park. – Tonya Bina can be reached at 970-887-3334 ext.19603.

Medical-marijuna industry contributes thousands to state candidates

In the first general election since the boom of the state’s medical-marijuana industry, cannabis supporters are making their voices heard the old-fashioned way: with money. Colorado medical-marijuana business owners and advocates have made thousands of dollars in contributions to state candidates this year. Dispensary owners have teamed up to form a political-action committee. And activists last month went so far as to host a fundraiser for attorney-general candidate Stan Garnett. “We need to back candidates who back us,” said Rob Corry, a medical-marijuana attorney who organized the fundraiser and personally contributed $1,050 to Garnett. “That is a fundamental political maxim in America.” Read more: Medical-marijuna industry contributes thousands to state candidates – The Denver Post http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_16486995#ixzz143P0PYk8