A few Mancos residents gathered near the current location of marijuana dispensary LivWell Saturday afternoon to sign a petition and object to the company’s move to the building that was formerly home to the Millwood Junction restaurant.
Those that were there Saturday passed around petitions and discussed the implications of LivWell’s move.
As with the Jan. 27 meeting of the Mancos Board of Trustees that signed off on the move, residents voiced objections to the proximity of the building to nearby Boyle Park and potential traffic issues that they say the move may create.
The board approved the location based on a measurement by Town Administrator Heather Alvarez and Marshal Goodall, as well as a measurement from licensed surveyor SGM.
Some locals drew attention to an unsolicited measurement from licensed surveyor Dugan McDonald that concluded the building is less than 500 feet from the park.
Organizer Hannah Vanmeter acknowledged that Mancos locals like herself would have to begrudgingly accept the move if the building is proven to be 500 feet from the park.
“At that point, we don’t really have a fight. They met all the town ordinances, and there’s nothing else we can do. I’m a firm believer in personal property rights. A lot of people just don’t think that it’s 500 feet.”
Vanmeter, like many residents, miss the days when the building was a restaurant.
“The Millwood was a great restaurant for 42 years. It’s been like a social hub. I moved here five years ago, and it’s pretty much how I know everyone here in Mancos,” Vanmeter said.
There was also the issue of the town’s reputation. While most said they have no problems with retail marijuana, some residents would rather see the building remain empty than have it become a dispensary.
“Right now, we’re known as an artist community and the gateway to Mesa Verde,” said Michael Looman. “We don’t want to be known as a pot town.”
LivWell general counsel Anna Hatch said at the Jan. 27 meeting that the company did not mean to cause controversy and pointed out that LivWell will spend $800,000 on building and landscape improvements.
“We serve your citizens, we serve your tourists, we employ your citizens and we really love being a part of this community,” Hatch said.