The Frisco Town Council on Tuesday, June 10, passed an emergency ordinance that could derail plans to turn the old A&W restaurant on Summit Boulevard into a medicinal marijuana business.
According to new regulations, adopted in a 5-2 vote, future retail and medicinal marijuana establishments would have to comply with greater setback restrictions from residences and comparable businesses.
The new regulations extend the distance between medicinal and retail marijuana businesses from 500 to 700 feet. The ordinance also requires future marijuana shops to be located at least 500 feet away from residential dwellings. Original language called for a residential setback of just 100 feet.
The ordinance further amends local marijuana business regulations by prohibiting two retail or medicinal marijuana establishments from residing in a single development project.
The ordinance defines a single development project as commercial property in which businesses share common areas, such as parking lots and sidewalks, or are governed by a shared property association.
The new regulations were passed as an emergency ordinance, meaning they went into effect immediately. Councilman Tom Connolly and Councilwoman Kathleen Bartz voted against the regulations.
Frisco town attorney Thad Renaud introduced the ordinance, saying it was designed to increase distance requirements and further limit the number of marijuana businesses in Frisco.
“There are so many other jurisdictions that either have greater limitations or moratoriums in place,” Renaud said. “It drives those potential business owners to other towns and we feel we have all of the marijuana establishments a community of this size can handle.”
Frisco has two marijuana businesses: the Bioenergetic Healing Center at 842 N. Summit Blvd. and Jerry Olson’s Medical Marijuana of the Rockies located up the street at 720 N. Summit Blvd. Those shops meet the town’s previous distance requirements of 500 feet.
Before the vote, Olson asked the town council how the changes, if approved, would affect pending applications for either a new retail or medicinal marijuana business license in town. Although he didn’t ask about any specific applications, the question was raised in reference to plans to convert the old A&W restaurant into a marijuana establishment.
It was previously reported that Rhett Jordan, of Denver, and Josh Ginsberg, of Boulder, purchased A&W in November 2013 for $1.25 million under the name 861 Summit Boulevard LLC. However, Olson said the true purchaser was Peter Knobel, of Solaris Residences in Vail.
Although Knobel could not be reached by press time for a comment, Summit County Assessor’s Office records show the current owner of A&W receives his or her mail at 141 E. Meadow Drive, Suite 211 in Vail. Solaris Residences is located at the same address.
Debra Wohlmuth, Frisco town clerk, said Summit Boulevard LLC has applied for a medicinal license, which has already navigated the state’s approval process, but has not yet been approved by the town. The applicants are first moving through the local building permits process, Wohlmuth said.
On Wednesday, town manager Bill Efting said Summit Boulevard LLC’s application was the only one pending that he was aware of. Although he could not remember specifically, Efting said a Vail company is listed as one of the partners on the application.
Summit Boulevard LLC would be located across the street from Bioenergetic Healing Center and a block away from Medical Marijuana of the Rockies. A Google maps search places the pending business just outside the newly approved 700-foot buffer of both of those shops, but well within the new 500-foot residential buffer.
“We don’t know that yet because it depends on how you measure and we haven’t measured the distance yet,” Efting said. “This change was not brought to our attention by any of the current shop owners and we’re not specifically targeting the A&W application.
“Council felt we needed to work out some of the kinks in our existing regulations, specifically our distance requirements.”
Efting said he, Renaud and other town staffers would review the A&W application next week.
“ ... we’re not specifically targeting the A&W application. Council felt we needed to work out some of the kinks in our existing regulations, specifically our distance requirements.”