Vail Daily letter: Limit pot shops
Ryan Summerlin November 12, 2013
The county commissioners held court on the Land Use Zoning Regulation 4476 on Oct. 29 to consider retail marijuana in unincorporated Eagle County. The cast was made up of mostly locals against those wanting to open or continue current marijuana businesses in the valley. Those against pot outweighed the supporters by a margin of 2 to 1, which was interesting because the three commissioners said they favored retail marijuana because the voters back in November 2012 voted 2 to 1 for Amendment 64 in our county.
So who has more influence? Those 20 locals who showed up to protest retail marijuana or a group of marijuana industry supporters from Denver and Summit County who want to expand pot operations, open social clubs, and turn our land into pot farms. The verbal group against pot included the superintendent of schools, school board president, an Edwards pastor, an Edwards landowner, an Edwards architect, our county sheriff, executive director of the Eagle River Youth Coalition, a social worker, an Edwards fireman, a Slifer Realtor, and the list goes on.
Many in protest attacked the county zoning rule to allow pot shops within 200 feet of our schools, churches, and houses since state and federal law both state 1,000 feet. The answer by our county attorney was that if commissioners agreed to 500 feet or 1,000 feet, then the new retail marijuana businesses would be zoned out of unincorporated Eagle County. This was an obvious prejudice by county government in favor of the retail marijuana establishments coming soon to our neighborhoods. Do they provide industry breaks like these to other local businesses?
After much public input, finally Sara Fisher, chairman, convinced the commissioners to table the LUR decision until after the Nov. 5 vote count on marijuana by Red Cliff and Eagle towns. Both passed so Commissioner Fisher’s proposal to only allow retail marijuana in the town of Eagle and Red Cliff has much merit. It will be a compromise to keep pot out of our ski resorts and calm down the public outcry over recreational marijuana in our neighborhoods and near schools.
We all moved to Eagle County for the outdoor life and great community spirit in the Rockies, not to be associated with a new pot industry that will demean our ski resort communities. To support Commissioner Fisher’s proposal to zone pot to Red Cliff and Eagle towns, call 970-328-8605 or email commissioners at firstname.lastname@example.org before 1 p.m., Nov 18, Board of Commissioners final pot decision day.