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Conditional license approval of a retail marijuana store took the spotlight at the Buena Vista Board of Trustees’ regular meeting on Tuesday, November 9, in addition to the town’s updated Source Water Protection Plan.

The board voted unanimously to approve the consent agenda, which included the appointment of Jan Johnson to the Recreation Advisory Board and the staff’s work with the First Colorado Land Office to enter into a listing agreement for the Buena Vista Fire Station. The staff hopes to have the station, located at 123 Linderman Avenue, up for sale before the end of 2021.

The board also approved an intergovernmental agreement (IGA) with the Colorado Department of Corrections’ (CDOC) Buena Vista Correctional Complex for Emergency Mutual/Disaster Aid within the consent agenda. The town entered into an emergency mutual aid agreement in 1999 and the Town Administration, Town Police Department, and CDOC and have worked together successfully in the past.

In his report, Town Administrator Phillip Puckett said that fire mitigation efforts are continuing in town. Chaffee County has agreed to provide $10,000 cash match funding to the Riverside grant application that BV also supported with a $10,000 cash match in 2022. Additionally, progress is being made on pulling together a North Cottonwood Creek forest health and wildfire mitigation project.

Puckett also reported that construction on the intersection of Baylor and De Paul with U.S. 24 could begin in 2023 or 2024, the Steele Drive intersection with U.S. 24 could get funding and start as soon as 2025, and additional deer fencing will be installed near Johnson Village in 2022.

Police Chief Dean Morgan reported that the Halloween Parade went well and that the department held a tribute to BVPD Officer Trevor Staszak, who was killed in the line of duty on October 26, 25 years ago. Lastly, he took a moment to thank the veterans in the community and those at the BVPD, including Sergeant Ben Adair, Officer Elijah Brito, and Cadet Chris Greene.

Recreation Director Earl Richmond reported that the Boys and Girls Club hosted a meeting on October 27 to discuss the current design concepts for the new campus. It’s forecasted that the project will break ground in two to three years. Additionally, the Recreation Department is looking into restructuring to become a more sustainable model.

Chaffee County Fire Chief Robert Bertram reported that they had fire safety presentations with the preschools in Buena Vista for Fire Prevention Week, and are working with schools to have more educational interactions throughout the year. The department also participated in the Avery Parsons Halloween Parade, joined in on the Trunk-or-Treat events at Cornerstone Church and the Comanche Drive-In, and had engines out passing glow necklaces to trick-or-treaters throughout town.

The first and most discussed business item on the agenda was the application for a Retail Marijuana Store License for PCG One, LLC, to potentially be located at 318 Charles Street, Buena Vista.

PCG One, LLC faces a number of obstacles in getting its license approved. As of November 4, 2021, the Colorado Department of Revenue Marijuana Enforcement Division (CDOR) has not issued PCG One, LLC a Regulated Marijuana Conditional Retail Marijuana License, which must be approved or denied within 45 – 90 days of the submittal date (on or before December 22, 2021.).

PCG One, LLC is also in the process of purchasing the building at 318 Charles Street, but at least two hurdles appear to stand in the way of finalizing the site as their location. Town Attorney Kathryn Sellers and the Planning Department have determined that a certificate of occupancy will not be issued and no use of the property as a retail marijuana store will be allowed until the town approves a minor subdivision correcting the illegal subdivision of Lot 7, Block 15 of the Original Plat of the Town of Buena Vista.

Additionally, the proposed location will be within 1,000 feet of the Shining Mountain Montessori School, not meeting the restrictions of Section 6-60(c)(1) of the Buena Vista Municipal Code. However, the PCG One, LLC application was submitted on September 10, 2021, before the school’s effective date of any land use or building permit application was received, so this issue will need to be resolved.

Conditions for approval include:

  • A fully executed deed or lease,
  • Approval of a minor subdivision correcting the illegal subdivision of Lot 7, Block 15 of the Original Plat of the Town of Buena Vista,
  • Submission of the site plan of the exterior of the building,
  • Premise plan of the interior of the building,
  • An approved security plan,
  • Completed construction,
  • Certificate of occupancy issued by the Chaffee County Development Services Department and the Town of Buena Vista, and
  • A Fire Inspection by the Chaffee County Fire Protection District.

BV residents Wout and Rachel Kremer wrote a letter to the board, asking them to strongly consider the location’s impacts on the Old Town overlay.

“Adding a storefront that is an ‘in and out the door’ business can only increase traffic congestion and parking in a quiet neighborhood,” the Kremers write. “Please consider, or at least acknowledge, these negative ramifications to an area already plagued with many Short Term Rentals (STRs)…(not to mention its location across from the Town’s Library.) Please don’t make another bad decision for this area.”

Adam Paul, who handles government affairs for PCG One, LLC, said that they’ve been working with the current owner and tenant of 318 Charles Street to find a solution that works for everyone. Paul proposed that the town allow them to lease the building and then finalize the purchase once the subdivision is handled.

“Let us pull back and lease right now,” Paul says. “The understanding is that if we lease this property, for the time being, we can then in good faith commit to you that we will start the subdivision.”

Paul said that the sooner they can get any approval, they’ll be able to figure out how to proceed with the owner. They are also financially supporting the current tenant as he plans his own next steps.  They are hoping to open by the end of this year or early next year.

Trustee Norm Nyberg said he felt it “just needs to be cleaned up” before the board moves forward. Trustee Devin Rowe said that if the subdivision correction is included in the conditions, he doesn’t see a problem with it. Trustee Gina Lucrezi felt there should be a time frame for the conditional approval, as well.

There was also clarification from Mayor Duff Lacy that, if these conditions can’t be met, the application for the license will not be approved. Trustee Cindie Swisher requested that there be a clear set date and deadline for the conditions to be met.

After a lengthy discussion, the board voted 5-1 to grant PCG One, LLC conditional approval with a six-month deadline for the conditions to be met.

The trustees also voted to approve an intergovernmental agreement (IGA) between the town and Chaffee County in order to establish cooperation on issues regarding the management and protection of water quality in Town Source Water Protection Areas (SWPA’s) within the County.

The Source Water Plan was drafted in 2016 to support the town’s 1999 Source Water Protection Ordinance. The Source Water Protection Plan Guidance Document was updated in 2018 to include specific nomenclature and design preferences.

“The Source Water Protection Plan is a living document, and should be reviewed periodically,” wrote Public Works Director Shawn Williams in his report. “County support and engineering resources provide additional resources to manage, armor and create awareness for water protection areas. Updates to the proposed table not only provide higher levels of protection to the water supply protection district area but also provides design levels for distance setbacks.”

Lastly, the board voted to cancel their December 28 meeting.

The board adjourned at 9:17 p.m. The next regular meeting will be held at 7:00 p.m. on November 23, 2021, at 715 East Main Street in Buena Vista.