Mike and Amy Mericle own an RV business on Factory circle in Fort Lupton.
They are concerned about potential impacts of two of their new neighbors, which happen to be two of four marijuana businesses that are hoping to get licenses from the city.
During a Fort Lupton City Council town hall March 29, Mike Mericle cautioned council about "a lot of unforeseen issues," issues he's seen in trips to downtown Denver.
"Going downtown is scary," he said. "I don't go unless it's to an (Colorado) Avalanche (hockey) game. You're always looking over your shoulder, If it's not a concern about crime, it's the smell. and it's all connected to marijuana."
Mericle cited statistics of increased hospitalizations, drunk driving cases and fatal car crashes in which the victims tested positive for cannabis.
"What are you prepared to do?" he asked council. "Look at the number of police officers we'll need. Getting a new officer on patrol. How much will that cost? I don't want kids smelling this. Those are some of the concerns to me. It's up to you to figure out how to manage these concerns."
His wife, Amy, followed.
"You can't deny the repercussions," she told council. "To have two of four licensees on the same block and across the street from us? There's a park close to the river, and there's a homeless population there. There's already drug use here. I would like to know what you have in place to mitigate some of these risks."
Mayor Zo Stieber said council and city staff -- including planning department officials and the police department -- spent "countless hours" in the past year-plus working on this issue.
"I was on a panel with someone who said because of good retail opportunities, they saw a decrease in crime," she said. "Sometimes, you get bad actors. Our requirements are such that we are going to protect you. That's why we kept it (the number of business licenses) at four."
"Two of those are on the same block," Amy Mericle said. "It seems excessive if you are going to try and manage that," she told council.
"We don't have a directive to move that number higher," Stieber answered. "WE're just getting our feet wet."
Mike Mericle told council, "I don't want to be in your shoes right now."
'In five to 10 years, there are going to be a lot of repercussions," he said. "We will be here to support you, not to say, 'We told you so.,' and be trying to take care of those who are suffering from addiction."
"We don't want something bad to happen," councilman Carlos Barron said. "We're part of the community, too."
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