Empty land except for some mechanical equipment
Morrison trustees have extended the due-diligence period for LivWell to determine if it wants to build a marijuana shop in the town. Credit: File photo by Deb Hurley Brobst

Due diligence period extended for pot shop in Morrison

A cannabis company will have until Feb. 6 to complete its due diligence to determine the feasibility of putting a marijuana shop in Morrison. 

This is the sixth time town officials have extended the due diligence period, giving LivWell, one of the largest cannabis operations in the nation, more than a year to determine if it wants to build a shop on Town of Morrison-owned land. Morrison trustees approved the extension at their Nov. 7 meeting.

“This is a complicated deal,” Town Manager Kara Winters explained. “It’s taking them a long time to determine whether this is feasible.”

LivWell wants to put the shop on a one-acre property owned by the town behind the wastewater treatment plant on the northeast corner of C-470 and Morrison Road. In August, the Town Board of Trustees approved rezoning the property to allow the shop.

On Dec. 20, 2022, the board voted to allow LivWell to construct the store, and since then, LivWell has asked for extensions for its due diligence. Trustees have asked to meet with LivWell representatives to get an update on the company’s progress to open the shop. LivWell can still back out of the deal.

Assuming LivWell moves forward, it would be responsible for building the store, the parking lot and the access road from the store to Morrison Road, and it would pay the town $15,000 a month to rent the property plus providing sales tax revenue.

In the meantime, LivWell is paying the town $7,500 a month during its due diligence period, Winters said.

Asking for quiet

Residents who live in the Willow Springs subdivisions have asked Morrison trustees to find ways to quiet trucks moving from Highway 8 onto U.S. 285. 

They told the Morrison trustees on Nov. 7 that the semis coming out of the quarry on Highway 8 use jake brakes, which are noisy and disruptive. 

Greg Sargowicki, the owner of Willow Ridge Manor on Highway 8, said it was difficult to host meetings at the location during the day because of the noise.

Resident Frankie Hood, who played a recording of the truck sounds she hears from her house,  asked the trustees to consider extending its noise ordinance south of the town or to lower the speed limit so truck drivers would use their brakes less.

She noted that the ramps onto area highways seem to be regularly blocked when trucks driving too fast tip over.

Mayor Chris Wolfe said town officials hear the residents’ concerns, and they would meet with the Willow Springs residents to discuss potential solutions.

Sidewalk on Highway 8, Spring Street bridge

Morrison trustees discussed two projects at their Nov. 7 meeting: creating a path or sidewalk on the west side of Highway 8 between Canyon Vista and Red Rocks Vista drives and replacing the Spring Street bridge.

Neither project is listed in the capital improvement projects planned for 2024.

Engineer Jim Gill, who volunteered to look at the two projects for the town, said several options were available for the sidewalk and path, each with challenges. A sidewalk is important because families can walk from home to Red Rocks Elementary School, and people can use the walkway to get to the Mount Falcon Park trailhead.

Gill said the easiest would be to pave the shoulder for about 10 feet and stripe it, but trustees voiced concern about potential safety issues. He said another possibility would be to put a curb and gutter along the west side of Highway 8 and then install a six-foot wide sidewalk. Both of these options would require approval from the Colorado Department of Transportation.

If the town wanted to put a walkway on the other side of the ditch, that would entail adding retaining walls, which would be expensive, or the town could put in a culvert and fill in the ditch, putting a walkway there. Trustees wanted to continue to look at options, costs and which options might get CDOT approval.

Gill also looked at the Spring Street bridge, which the town has talked about replacing for several years. He said it would cost less to repair it than originally expected. 

A bridge with cracking asphalt
Morrison officials are looking for ways to fix the Spring Street bridge, which is in need of repair. Credit: Photo by Deb Hurley Brobst

The bridge is made of wooden beams and a 4-inch wooden deck with 7 inches of asphalt over it. He said one beam that is failing must be replaced, and new deck and side rails should be replaced, estimating the town would get another 25 years out of it. He estimated the materials would cost about $30,000.

Board member Johnny Leonard called Gill’s plan a great solution.

Gill said it would take about a week to do the work, and once the decking had been ripped out, the residents living east of the bridge would need to make preparations because they wouldn’t be able to drive to their houses.

Police force to continue at same level

Morrison will not be funding a 24/7 police force in 2024.

Hiring additional officers would be too expensive, so the town will continue to have its officers on duty for 20 hours a day, except between 2 a.m. and 6 a.m. when the Jeffco Sheriff’s Office provides law enforcement.

Police Chief Bill Vinelli had told trustees last month that crime happens during those hours, and Jeffco sheriff’s deputies respond, but they have competing incidents.

The police department’s budget is projected to be about 40% of the town’s total 2024 budget, which is about $1.48 million of the total $3.63 million budget, and even with additional revenue projected from a speed-enforcement van and camera, ticket revenues are projected to be $400,000 less than the police budget.

Trustee Johnny Leonard said he would like town officials to meet with community members in 2024 to talk about the police department, and whether it was important for town residents. The town has about 300 residents, but the police force takes care of tourists and the crime that comes with it.

Some residents have said the town didn’t need its own police force.

“We need to educate the town and determine if we need (a police force) and can afford one,” Leonard said. “The chief has done a great job of getting us to where we want to be.”

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