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Hotchkiss ordinance targets marijuana, minors in possession

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A draft of the 2019 budget is in the hands of Hotchkiss trustees, who will review the numbers individually, then meet at 6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 25, for a work session.

They will also review revisions to the mobile home regulations at that work session.

An ordinance concerning the growing of marijuana in the Town of Hotchkiss passed unanimously after previous discussion and revisions. No more than 12 marijuana plants may be grown, cultivated or processed on residential property within the Town of Hotchkiss, which matches the number of plants allowed in unincorporated areas of the county.

If a violation is alleged, the town marshal's office can ask to inspect the premises to confirm that those growing marijuana meet the provisions of the town code and state law.

Trustee Mary Hockenbery emphasized that the compliance checks are complaint driven and entirely voluntary. State law requires marijuana grows to be covered and screened from view.

The ordinance also addresses the sale to and possession of marijuana by minors. It is unlawful for anyone under the age of 21 to possess or consume marijuana, or to possess drug paraphernalia (unless they have a prescription for medical marijuana).

Finally, the ordinance sets the penalties for the first, second and third offenses. Hockenbery said the ordinance gives Hotchkiss the ability to handle offenses in municipal court.

Two letters of interest were received for the vacancy created by the death of council member Jim Roberts. The two applicants, Patrick Webb and Matthew Kottenstette, were not available for the Oct. 11 meeting, co council members agreed to delay a decision until their Nov. 8 meeting, when hopefully both can be present.

Noting he is making good progress, council members granted an extension of time for Tim Reed to remove the final trailer at 495 E. Bridge Street. The nine-month extension will allow six months for the occupants to find a new home and three months for removal and cleanup.

Marshal Dan Miller reported that Glenn Steil, a resident of Montrose and a former employee of the San Miguel County Sheriff's Office, has joined the Hotchkiss Marshal''s reserve program. He is expected to go through about 180 hours of field training.

Kathy Steckel, executive director of the North Fork Ambulance, provided information about the two questions the ambulance district has on the November ballot. Since those are the last two questions on a very long ballot, she urges everyone to vote to the end.

The Town of Hotchkiss also has a question on the ballot, concerning the sale of the town shop, which led to a brief discussion about "electioneering."

It was pointed out the town could receive a "piece of the pie" if voters approve Proposition 110, which would authorize sales tax and bonds for transportation projects,. Forty percent of the additional tax revenue would be dedicated to local governments for their transportation projects.

"Get out and vote regardless of how you feel about these issues," urged town attorney Bo Nerlin, to the complete agreement of all attending the meeting.

Mayor Larry Wilkening commented on recent precipitation. "The rain has been wonderful, but we need to stay in a conservation mode," he said.

Council member John Marta said the Colorado Grand had awarded $10,000 to the Hotchkiss Community Chamber of Commerce. The Hotchkiss Elks Lodge served as the pass-through agency for the funds, since the chamber does not yet have nonprofit status.

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