Tie Vote Means Delay in Reaching a Decision on Pot
MOUNTAIN VILLAGE – The Mountain Village Town Council tied 3-to-3 on Tuesday and did not pass an ordinance that would allow retail marijuana dispensaries to open in Mountain Village. Mayor Dan Jansen, Michelle Sherry, and Dave Schillaci voted against the ordinance. Cath Jett, Jonette Bronson and John Howe voted for the ordinance. Councilor Richard Child was not in attendance for the vote, though he did voice support earlier in the meeting.
Council will discuss the matter again at its January 16 meeting. Unlike in Telluride, there is currently no retail marijuana commerce in Mountain Village because the town extended a moratorium on sales from Dec. 31 until March 31 to give the council and town officials more time to discuss the matter.
Mountain Village Mayor Dan Jansen doesn’t see the need for the shops in the Village at this time.
“Telluride has several medicinal, and soon to be recreational, shops that are a short gondola ride away,” he said.
“It is none of my business what an adult wants to do in the privacy of their own home,” Jansen added. “But the idea of bringing these [marijuana shops] into a family friendly tourism-driven economy, is risky and therefore I don’t see a need to rush into it. We can see how it plays out in other towns and then act off of real data and experiences. I have received numerous phone calls and e-mails over the last month from people saying, ‘please don’t do this. Leave it in Telluride, for now at least.’”
The councilors discussed the provision in the ordinance stating where these shops would be located.
Sherry said that while she’s not in favor of allowing marijuana commerce in Mountain Village, she strongly preferred that retail pot not be sold alongside plaza-level storefronts, and wanting the shops to operate out of second floor levels in the Village Core.
Proposed Science Research Center Wins Council Nod
Frustrated by stalled negotiations with the Town of Telluride, the Telluride Science Research Center approached the Telluride Mountain Village Owners Association this fall with a proposal to build a research and conference center on TMVOA-owned land in Mountain Village. TSRC hopes to build its center using a lengthy lease from TMVOA for a nominal price.
After thoroughly reviewing TSRC’s proposal and financial state, Greg Pope, CEO and president of TMVOA, approved the nonprofit’s proposal in November. This week, the Mountain Village Town Council discussed the notion of TSRC constructing their campus in Mountain Village, offering the nonprofit unanimous support.
Thursday’s meeting, however, did not include a vote to approve or deny the nonprofit’s future in Mountain Village.
While TSRC hopes to build on private TMVOA-land, Mountain Village is a vital party to making the research center a reality because of a required relocation of a town road that runs through the two parcels upon which TSRC hopes to build.
Mayor Dan Jansen told council that the opportunity to provide a home for TSRC is consistent with the town’s Comprehensive Plan, a 30-year plan to improve the town’s economy and land use.
“I want to see TSRC become a part of the Telluride region,” Jansen said. “I was supportive of their push to locate in Telluride if that is where the TSRC wants to be, and we’re certainly supportive of their proposal here in Mountain Village. We just want this to be part of the community and not have them relocate to, say, Durango or Crested Butte.”
Before year’s end, TMVOA and council will meet jointly to discuss TSRC’s proposal to build in Mountain Village at greater length.
2014 Budget Approved
The Mountain Village Town Council this week unanimously passed a $25.7 million budget for 2014. Mountain Village has budgeted funds for infrastructure projects, carbon footprint reduction initiatives and some merit-based wage increases for town employees.
Unique to the 2014 budget is a $500,000 line item funding a project entitled the Meadows Improvement Plan, which includes funding for improvements to the road and recreation in that neighborhood of Mountain Village.
Hit hard from years of declining property values and revenues, Mountain Village experienced an unexpected burst in revenues in 2013, allowing it to spend on next year’s infrastructure improvements. The town’s coffers, however, largely depend on property, sales and fees, and the town’s property values have yet to return to pre-recession levels.