Boulder’s controversial effort to start a city run electric utility is far from a done deal, but that did not stop City Council on Tuesday November 1st, from going ahead with the annexation of 15 properties against the owner’s wishes – properties that are a factor in the city obtaining approval for municipalization.
The dozen or so affected businesses include seven that manufacture marijuana products. The businesses on east Arapahoe are currently just outside the city limits and have been happily operating under county rules for marijuana growers – rules that are far less stringent than the city’s rules. Dan Anglin is the co-owner of Americana, a business with eight licenses in the annexation zone. He told KGNU’s Roz Brown that Boulder’s rules were put in place before the state created its own rules and he claims they are antiquated, confusing, complex, unlike any other set of rules in the state of Colorado and very anti-marijuana friendly.
“It sounds like this is the first time City Council has realized how different their rules are from any other city’s.”
The approved ordinance will allow affected property owners to operate under county’s rules rather than city rules for a finite period – perhaps six months for some issues and two years for others – those details still need to be ironed out, which has Allyson Feiler worried. She was told by the city her business will need a public bathroom – a huge concern for her.
“I feel they did their best in trying to accomplish a difficult and complex matter, but it wasn’t done in a way that was possible in such a short time,” said Feiler. “I think they tried to accomplish what we needed them to do in order to continue operating but there are minutia that are not being addressed that to them seem unimportant but will force us to close our business down for an extended period of time.”
The annexation was approved by a 6-to-3 vote with city council members Jan Burton, Aaron Brockett and Bob Yates voting no, saying forced annexations are not right and the ordinance has been rushed. But the rush goes back to municipalization of utilities – because the city has been told by the state’s Public Utilities Commission that Boulder would improve its chances at creating a municipal electric utility, separate from Xcel Energy, by clarifying its city limits so as to avoid potentially serving county customer after approval. And the15 annexed properties were a sticking point.
Loree Schwartz is the owner of Green Tree Medicinals and lamented the council’s decision. “Boulder has had a history of not doing forced annexations and there’s no guarantee that it will achieve the municipalizaiton if and when they take this property – which they’ve just done – they’ve just annexed us, we’re in the city now.”
Boulder’s energy future remains undecided – municipalization or a compromise with Xcel – but Boulder has taken the unprecedented step of annexing 15 properties that would have rather been left alone.