It was great to see that commissioners have now opened up their meetings to citizens using Zoom. Sunshine is always the best disinfectant even when not dealing with a pandemic. Commissioner agendas for the April 21 meeting can be accessed at the saguachecounty.net website and will contain a password for those wishing to attend.
And it also was gratifying to see that commissioners have responded to concerns of citizens in the Moffat area and others throughout the county by filing a request for a preliminary injunction and hearing on annexation No. 3 of the Potch LLC/Area 420 marijuana complex. The filing was thorough in detailing the many problems that exist with this annexation and why it is not in the best interests of county residents.
Commissioners could have allowed the deadlines on filing the objection to pass, but the fact that they responded tells residents they did listen to their concerns.
One thing that commissioners may also wish to address during (or even outside) the court process is the structuring of the Moffat town board that led up to this annexation and the way that town meetings are held in Moffat. Had the board been operating under accepted governmental standards, the annexation process might have been better scrutinized and researched, and those providing information and assistance to the board more scrupulously vetted to guarantee a more objective evaluation of the project.
For years there have been problems with town meetings in Moffat, even preceding the purchase of land there for commercial marijuana cultivation. But once cannabis became king in the town, advocates for annexation and other projects began courting the current mayor and those board members then in place and currying favor.
While some board members have resigned owing to conflicts of interest related to the marijuana industry, others remain who have very much benefited from the Potch LLC/Area 420 development and continue to do so. Without this favorable climate that benefits only a few, the annexation process more likely would have been conducted in accordance with state statutes.
More to the point, the town board would not have omitted the citizen involvement necessary to render the proceedings in line with statutory requirements, a fact one attorney retained by Moffat citizens pointed out. Those attending meetings in Moffat complained for two years they could not obtain information from the town ordinarily available to the public, were harassed at meetings by board members and marijuana growers who predominated there and were even requested to leave.
This state of affairs very much contributed to the problems now faced by the county and Moffat residents. The town is a statutory, not a home rule town, despite its behavior to the contrary. By encouraging reform regarding town meetings and the cordial admission of town residents whose objections they have refused to consider, commissioners could avoid additional problems that might occur in the future.
While some feel the town’s business should not be of any interest to the county, all governments within the county should be working with each other as well as the county for the benefit of Saguache County citizens. Wherever this is not happening, citizens run the risk of being victimized by two-bit despots and those to whom they delegate their dirty work.