401 Meeker St Delta CO 81416 970.874.4421

Delta places 3-month moratorium on medical marijuana establishments

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During a special meeting on Nov. 13, Delta City Council unanimously approved an emergency ordinance placing a three-month moratorium on the acceptance and processing of applications for medical marijuana center licenses and for building permits related to those establishments.

Medical marijuana centers were approved by city voters during the Nov. 6 election.

The three-month moratorium is intended to give the city time to develop and enact licensing and zoning provisions. The timeframe is tight -- the process requires the first and second reading of an ordinance, a public hearing and a 30-day waiting period after council approval. "You can see how fast that will eat up 90 days," said city manager David Torgler.

The emergency ordinance allows council to extend the moratorium an additional 90 days, if desired. The moratorium can be lifted by resolution at a public meeting at any time.

A couple of council members said it would be simpler to just start out with a longer timeframe, such as four or five months. Others argued for expediency. The voters have spoken, a previous council did some preliminary work on regulations, and the city has already received seven or eight inquiries about the licensing process. Council member Christopher Ryan pointed out that the state and numerous municipalities have gone down this road, so it shouldn't be that difficult to get the city up to speed.

"Our intent should be sooner rather than later for the simple reason people are ready to give us sales tax revenue," said councilmember Nathan Clay.

Kevin Carlson recalled a campaign pledge to make the city more business friendly. "Regardless of the type of business, we want to make it easier to do business in Delta," he said.

During public comments, Hartland Clubb Jr. urged the city to be very, very careful. "If you need more time, I will be here asking you to take it."

An emergency ordinance requires unanimous approval from all five councilmembers, and that's just what transpired. Although Gerald Roberts said he would have preferred a longer moratorium, he expressed a desire to get the process started.

Also during the special meeting, Betsy Suerth, public works/utilities director, reviewed two bids for sidewalk replacements. The cost of some sections will be shared by property owners, she said.

She provided details in a memo: Locations have been marked in the field and include 32 sidewalk sections on Hastings between 5th and 7th streets, on 3rd Street at Dodge, on Dodge between 2nd and 3rd and 6th and 8th streets, on Howard between 4th and 5th and 13th and 14th streets, on Meeker between 6th and 8th streets, on Leon at 4th Street, on 4th Street between Meeker and the alley, on 8th Street between Grand and Howard, and two ADA ramps at Dodge and 7th streets.

At her recommendation, council awarded the bid to Western Gravel Constructors, which is already in Delta working on the ADA ramps through a contract with the Colorado Department of Transportation.

In some locations, the sidewalks have been damaged by tree roots. In response to concerns expressed by council, Suerth said parks supervisor Tony Bohling has agreed to provide his expertise on how to minimize damage to the tree if a portion of the root system must be removed. "We will do our best," said Wilma Erven, director of parks, recreation and golf, "but we may have a casualty."

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