Stoner liquor license runs out

Renewal denied because restaurant hasn't opened

In 2013, Mary Janes at Stoner was granted a liquor license for a planned restaurant and bar on property in the Dolores Valley.

So far, though, the restaurant proposed by Frank McDonald hasn't opened. On Monday, the lack of action has prompted the liquor license renewal to be denied by the Montezuma County commission.

"The state recommended that it be revoked because there is not an operating facility at the location," said deputy clerk Lynn Dorenkamp.

Under Colorado liquor laws, there is no set time for a proprietor to open a restaurant once a liquor license is obtained. But Dorenkamp and county attorney John Baxter said the county has the discretion to revoke the license due to the lack of progress in the last year.

"(The commission) is within their legal bounds to deny (the license)," Baxter said. "If he appeals, we can provide a public hearing for him to respond."

McDonald was not present at the hearing. Clerk Dorenkamp said he was notified by certified mail of the meeting.

"He called this morning and said he was in a gated community and did not have access to the letter," she said.

McDonald and investors had plans for a restaurant, bar, and a live music venue at Stoner, located 12 miles north of Dolores on Colorado 145. It was to open in Spring of this year. The name Mary Jane at Stoner is meant to "honor a neighbor named Mary Jane who has lived there all her life," McDonald said last year.

It also alludes to Amendment 64, a Colorado law passed last year legalizing recreational use of marijuana. In an interview with The Durango Herald in 2012, McDonald described his venture as family-friendly, cannabis-friendly, environment-friendly model for a new era.

Montezuma County has banned commercial sales and cultivation of medical and recreational marijuana in unincorporated areas.

McDonald testified at the 2013 hearing that he had been having a rough year because of illness, but had turned it around, and he was ready to move forward with his restaurant plans.

When asked about his plans, McDonald and publicist Lee Hart explained they envisioned an indoor-outdoor music venue, bar and restaurant.

"Our plans are for an event center, because there is nothing like that around here," McDonald said last year. "There are a lot of reasons why we haven't opened yet, but there are a lot of good reasons to open."

"I've been out there, and nothing is happening. It looks vacant," said commissioner Keenan Ertel.