Grand Lake Board of Trustees workshops pot shop ballot question

The sun shines on Grand Lake Town Hall in this 2020 picture. The town's board of trustees meets every second and fourth Monday of the month.
Robert Mendoza/Sky-Hi News archive

At their July 11 workshop and meeting, the Grand Lake Board of Trustees brought in Brian Blumenfeld, a lawyer who specializes in cannabis law, to talk about best practices for regulating recreational marijuana shops.

In February, the trustees initiated their plan to put a question about legalizing these kinds of stores in the town on the ballot this November. Town staff are preparing the text of the question to present to the board at the next meeting, Town Manager John Crone said. 

While the board could repeal the town’s marijuana moratorium themselves, Blumenfeld said imposing a special tax on the drug requires a vote of the people. He told the board about specifics they could include in the ballot question that could provide voters with more information but restrict town lawmakers in the future.

One such restriction involves the number of licenses available in the town. The ballot question could provide a definite number, leave it to the board’s discretion or allow for an unlimited number of licenses, which Blumenfeld said could lead to a proliferation of cannabis shops.

The ballot question could also feature restrictions for the types of licenses available and method for awarding them. Blumenfeld mentioned merit, lottery and hybrid systems for dealing out licenses, but said he sees more issues with merit systems than the other two.

“(The merit system) is also pretty fraught with issues and litigation,” Blumenfeld said. “The main reason being that it’s very difficult to make decisions, you know, objectively.”

Crone said the board will fill in some details of the ballot measure at the next board meeting.

Potential tax policy changes

Town Treasurer Heike Wilson spoke to the trustees in another workshop about two taxes that came up at their first June meeting

The board considered changing the use tax as an agenda item at that meeting, but local developer Jim Kreutzer voiced concerns about the plan. Wilson explained the staff’s recommendation of changing the town policy to send builders to the Colorado Department of Revenue for a refund if they are double taxed. The board directed the staff to make that change.

Katie Beeson, owner of Mountain Market asked the trustees to consider changing the sales tax on groceries June 13. Wilson told the trustees that the town’s tax on groceries is not out of line with other municipalities in Grand County or the state as a whole, so trustees indicated they will not change Grand Lake’s tax at this time. 

A special deck

Grand Lake resident Roger Jameson owns a house on Park Avenue that was built before the town passed their current setback requirements, meaning the minimums for front, side and rear yards do not apply to the property. 

Jameson wants to expand the deck and asked the town for permission to further violate the front yard requirement. The trustees approved a resolution granting variance to that project and one consolidating two lots on Jameson’s property.

Other business

  • Crone mentioned in his report that staff is making some minor changes to the resolution to recognize the rights of nature that the board discussed at their last meeting.
  • Kreutzer spoke during the public comment portion of the meeting, going over his three minutes while asking the board to put him on the next meeting agenda for an issue he is having with a development. Crone later said Kreutzer would be on the next agenda.
  • Mindy Nelson also spoke during public comments and asked trustees to think of a way to get snowmobiles to the Conoco on U.S. Highway 34, which is the only gas station in Grand Lake.
  • Trustees approved the accounts payable for July 11, which totaled $70,827.89.
  • The board appointed Alayna Carrell as town clerk, with one dissenting vote from Trustee Christina Bergquist, and unanimously appointed Blumenfeld as administrative hearing officer.
  • Trustees approved the transfer of two liquor licenses, one for Lake Liquors, the liquor store at Grand Lake’s Conoco, and the other for Cy’s Deli.
  • In his report, Mayor Steve Kudron talked about a mayor, manager and commissioner meeting Grand Lake hosted Monday morning. He said the issues other Grand County towns face are similar to ones Grand Lake experiences, including workforce shortages and short term rental issues. He also said the town has drawn well-sized crowds of visitors lately.

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