Left Hand Valley Courier - All Local, All The Time

By Audrey Lenger and Steve Romano
On Behalf of Plaintiffs Legal Committee 

Letter to the Editor

 

August 3, 2017



The sixteen Niwot residents who filed suit contesting Boulder County’s approval of a marijuana dispensary in downtown Niwot are not appealing the State District Court ruling upholding County approval.

While disappointed, we value Judge Sierra’s confirmation that “the proposed use is not by right.” Our County Commissioners had authority to deny this land use but chose not to. Instead, they set aside multiple well-founded objections, opposition by 94% of the 500+ public comment letters from Niwot and compelling public hearing testimony. This is worth remembering.

Judge Sierra acknowledged that “contrary evidence” existed in the record, but found County approval was not “devoid of evidentiary support.” We believe this contrary evidence warranted much closer examination. Appealing, however, would be a difficult uphill battle given the deference afforded to governmental bodies under Colorado law.

Our deep thanks go out to the hundreds of Niwotians who wrote and testified against this unwelcome land use, to our fellow plaintiffs, and to the scores of folks who contributed financially to the District Court litigation effort.

We’re encouraged by a recent 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling reviving a federal lawsuit that could open the gates for property owners to sue marijuana businesses for diminished property values. This action, based on the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), was brought by Coloradans represented by Safe Streets Alliance. This bears watching.

So what’s next? We hope State and County marijuana licensing officials carefully examine the financial condition of developer Ernest Craumer and the track record of the apparent business operator, “Starbuds” (Google them to learn more). Citizens can contact the Boulder County Marijuana Licensing Authority at (303) 441-3525 or the State’s Marijuana Enforcement Division at (303) 866-2274 in Longmont to offer input.

Should the business open, vigilance will be needed to ensure that permit restrictions are strictly adhered to, and to watch for possible requests to allow late night operating hours or a marijuana growing operation. Don’t hesitate to let County officials know of your concerns.

Audrey Lenger and Steve Romano

On Behalf of Plaintiffs Legal Committee

 

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