On Thursday, Feb. 16, prior to the regularly scheduled meeting of the Cedaredge board of trustees, Gary and Donna Allen of High Mountain Enterprises, LLC, doing business as the Cedaredge Lodge, were given the opportunity to speak about their application for a hotel and restaurant liquor license at the Cedaredge Lodge, located at 810 N. Grand Mesa Drive in Cedaredge.
Gary began by providing the trustees and the standing-room-only crowd with a lengthy history of his and Donna's sojourn to Colorado, and why the two finally made the choice to relocate from Florida to Cedaredge in 2007 and start a business.
A business, Gary said, he was reluctant to invest in.
Gary detailed the extensive remodeling they have done since purchasing the lodge and a history of past events hosted by the Allens as a means of "Paying it forward," and as an indication of their commitment to stay in Cedaredge and provide visitors a resort-like experience.
Time and time again, both offered assurance that the application was not a license for a tavern or bar, but was only to allow them to serve liquor to their room guests. After hearing from the Allens, the hearing was opened for questions and comment.
Trustee Dr. Laurence Smith asked what, if any, guarantee did the town have that the Allens would honor their commitment to serve only their guests once the liquor license application was approved and the license issued.
Town Clerk Darlynn Novakovitch answered that the Allens could pretty well do what they please once the license is issued. Novakovich said there are no provisions in the liquor license binding them to an oral commitment to not serve the general public, once the license is issued.
A similar question was asked regarding the possible sale of the business following the approval and issuance of a liquor license, with the same kind of response; there is no guarantee that the new owners would honor the Allens' commitment to not serve the general public, nor would they be required to do so.
Donna Allen, responding to a question regarding the presence of children in the area where liquor might be served, said it is the parents' responsibility and that it is the same as children being in a restaurant where liquor is served.
When town administrator Kathleen Sickles asked whether or not some of the property (more than an acre) might be excluded from the area currently included in the application, Gary explaining that his guests are free to walk around the property. They would not exclude any of the property.
Later, during the regular meeting of the board of trustees, when the issue was brought to a vote, trustees Nelson Cederberg and Smith recused themselves. Smith, for a possible conflict of interest because he owns property adjacent to the lodge, and Cederberg for an unintentional "ex parte." (In administrative actions, ex parte communication means an off-the-record communication from one side of a proceeding (the Allens) to a decision maker (Cederberg) regarding a specific issue that requires a decision by the decision maker has occurred).
Cederberg explained that prior to the public hearing, he had visited with the Allens and had toured the lodge area covered by the application, without realizing that he had done anything wrong.
Their request to be recused, coupled with the absence of trustee Michael Meskel, resulted in the lack of the quorum for action, and the issue was tabled until the March 15 meeting.blog comments powered by Disqus