Mayor Wendell Koontz and the Hotchkiss Town Council were hosted by Hotchkiss High School last Thursday evening. Trustees were given a tour of the school by Glen Suppes, assistant principal.
Hotchkiss High School and the North Fork Community Montessori School had artwork on display. The school rolled out the red carpet for its guests.
Mayor Wendell Koontz thanked Suppes and all the members of the student body who attended the council meeting. Members of the student council sat with the trustees, mayor and town clerk. The mayor wants to spark interest in young people to become active in local government. Maybe some of those who sat with the council will be future trustees or mayors in Hotchkiss or wherever they choose to live.
Mayor Koontz was excited by the response of the students and wants next year's meeting to be held at town hall.
Suppes shared about the many activities at the school.
Students gave their views on recreational marijuana regulations for the Town of Hotchkiss. Josh Hardin, student body president, said he sees no benefit for youth and asked the council to not allow recreational marijuana sales in Hotchkiss. Keegan Coburn said 21 years of age is too young for someone to put their life in the hands of drugs. A total of seven students and Suppes spoke against permitting marijuana dispensaries within town limits. Kurt Katzdorn expressed a different opinion. While he is opposed to using marijuana personally, he believes adults have the right to make decisions for themselves. He thinks there should be dispensaries in town.
Other members of the public can make their opinions known on the subject of recreational marijuana sales at a public hearing at town hall in May.
Concerning other agenda items, the council approved the Creamery Arts Center's liquor license renewal. They also voted to allow alcohol to be served on the patio at PJ's Pub owned by Peter Knapp. Drinks served outside at the establishment under different management had previously been allowed. Marshal Dan Miller said there had not been any problems with serving alcohol outdoors under prior ownership.
The council adopted the amended sidewalk ordinance. Attorney Jim Briscoe offered a few changes to the ordinance. He changed language which sounded like the property owner was giving the town a bill for sidewalk work. The language now has the town giving the property owner a contribution for the sidewalk. He also changed the incentive for the property owner to pay their assessment within 90 days from a two percent reduction to a 10 percent reduction.
Tom Wills of the Hotchkiss Chamber of Commerce wanted the chamber to have a blanket permit to use the sidewalks during special events. Attorney Briscoe stated it didn't have to be in the ordinance. Anyone wanting a special use of downtown sidewalks will need to get approval from town hall.
Use of the sidewalk is on a permit basis. Merchants in the downtown core zone are allowed to use a portion of the sidewalk adjacent to their property after obtaining a free permit. They will be able to use the sidewalk for display or sales. Merchants must meet sidewalk requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act, CDOT requirements and town code.
Jerry Thompson was awarded a five-year lease of the town's farmland adjacent to the sanitation pond. He has been farming and upgrading the property for the last nine years. His bid was to pay the town $3,500 per year. Dan Bolton bid $5,500 per year. Trustee James Roberts said that Thompson improves the land each year and is doing soil samples. Trustee Georgia Hopper agreed saying the council already knows that Thompson will do a good job. The council accepted the Thompson bid in a split vote of four to one with one abstention.
There will be a 5K Fun Run on Saturday, May 11 at 7:30 a.m., during the Hotchkiss Sheep Camp and Stock Dog Trials. The run will start at the Catholic Church go down 3400 Road and finish at the Hotchkiss Fire Station. The mayor said he hopes to see a bunch of high school students participating.
Steve Weist of Oxbow Mining gave an update on the progress of the Oak Mesa project. Oxbow is doing exploratory drilling to determine whether there is enough coal in the area to mine. They have been drilling since the winter. Sixteen holes have been drilled of the 24 they want to complete. There will be a competitive bid process with the Bureau of Land Management. The highest bidder then will apply to the State of Colorado for a mining permit. Weist said it will take six to seven years before mining for coal could begin. Mayor Koontz said the report was very encouraging for the Town of Hotchkiss.
Mary Hockenbery of the planning commission told the council she met with last year's volunteers who planted flowers in half barrels downtown. They are working on a planting design and the kinds of flowers that will be used this year.
Tom Wills and trustee Dustyn Foster are building the first six by three foot planter for downtown. Once it is assembled, the Hotchkiss Chapter of the FFA will build the remaining nine planters made of mine timbers from Todd Enterprises.
There is a vacancy on the planning commission. An applicant must live within the Town of Hotchkiss.
Trustee Carrie Wingfield will serve as the representative for the Town of Hotchkiss with the Creative Coalition. The coalition is applying for certification from the state for a North Fork Creative District. Current status for the North Fork Valley is as an Emerging Creative District.
The Hotchkiss Chamber of Commerce, TDS Telecommunications and the West Slope Conservation Center are sponsoring an E-Waste event for discarded electronic equipment on April 27. Hard drives will be shredded at the location. More details will be announced later.blog comments powered by Disqus