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.
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