MOFFAT— A hearing held to gather testimony regarding the proposed Moffat annexation Monday was attended by several local opponents to the plan as well as growers favoring the annexation, which would incorporate land into the city limits intended for marijuana cultivation.
Potch LLC is one of the cultivations that would be incorporated into the Moffat city limits. Potch LLC spokesperson Whitney Parsons Justice was present at the meeting.
The town has not released documents showing the exact location of the annexation or a list of all the parties owning the land north of the town intended for annexation. The town announced the annexation last month in a notice which read:
“The owners of 100 percent of the real property included in an area proposed to be annexed in Saguache County, Colo., excluding public streets and all alleys and any land owned by the town of Moffat, have filed a petition for annexation of said area with the town clerk of the town of Moffat, Colo., requesting the town to commence proceedings for the annexation of said area…”
Adjacent landowner Virgil Tafoya, who says his repeated requests documents regarding the annexation and other meetings and decisions related to marijuana cultivation in the town have been denied, told hearing examiner Peggy Godfrey:
“Who will pay the taxes? My kids don’t want to pay that tax. An impact plan should be released to the county. Can Moffat handle the progress? People will be paying taxes but will we get the services we need? The town needs to make sure all questions are answered. If we allow it we should allow it for everybody but makes sure the rules are fair. We can’t get involved because we can’t get any information. This new council should be working to makes sure everything is above board and transparent.”
A citizen who says she also owns land adjacent to the annexation said her land is surrounded by grows on three sides. The woman claims she was informed about the annexation three days before she needed to respond to a message left on her phone. “I don’t feel I know enough [to make a decision],” she said. “There are lots of questions and nothing is clarified. Things are cloudy, not transparent.”
Another interested landowner asked the board why the last two trustees sworn in April 3 (according to the agenda for that meeting) were not present. He was told by Godfrey his question was not relevant, but an angry Patricia Riegel announced the Millers were not sworn in and have not responded to her requests for an explanation for not showing up at the April 3 meeting.
Interested party Bob Tafoya said he has been “after the board to get a police department,” since Saguache County has limited services. “This community is in dire need of a police department,” he insisted. We also need a code enforcement officer, and this is part of the impact statement.”
Godfrey also discounted Tafoya’s observations as not directly related to the annexation.
Former trustee Ken Skoglund told Tafoya a police force takes money and growers will bring money in.
Tafoya documents request
Virgil Tafoya once again stated that Moffat has to have a complete report with details for commissioners to study. Godfrey told Tafoya the hearing was only about public support and opposition to the annexation plan. Tafoya replied that the town would still need to present the required impact report. Riegel announced later she would have the impact report ready for examination by commissioners Tuesday, April 17. Last month Tafoya sent in an official Colorado opens records request regarding the current annexation process, asking for copies of:
“…all ordinances or resolutions that initiated the action, copies of all pertinent requests from the interested citizens, coordination with all county, state, and federal agencies, copies of the Town of Moffat Master Planning Land Use Board, including copies of the meeting minutes, also the board members in attendance, town trustees involved at the meetings, copies of the revised city map to include the legal surveys, copies of the coordination with the appropriate subdistricts (utilities, water, state electrical, sewer, and telecommunications and copies of meetings with the Saguache County Land Use Office and County Commissioners.”
He reported the copies were never received. By law the town must deliver the records within three working days or provide a plausible reason for the delay.
Another individual accompanying Justice told Tafoya that Town Attorney Eric Schwiesow would not allow the town to proceed unless its paperwork was in order, noting Schwiesow “is very concerned all the processes are followed” and has been reviewing the documents. Schwiesow was not present for the hearing.
After a brief speech by Justice, Riegel delivered a tirade against the Center Post-Dispatch and “lying” reports that made her and the town look bad. She was reminded that there had been no legal recourse regarding her claims. Riegel said she has done her due diligence and has the support of the town. She was loudly applauded by the marijuana growers attending the hearing.
On his way out of the meeting with his elderly parents, Skoglund waved the middle finger at the reporter as he left the room.