New regulations would likely create a licensing agent, modeled on Telluride’s Liquor Licensing Authority, with review of decisions going to council in the event of challenge.
Due to the current location of existing “centers,” formerly know as dispensaries, council decided not to put more onerous limits on the distance of centers from public parks and schools. Currently, centers must be located 500 feet from a school.
A major source of public criticism has been signage. Many members of council reported public unease with the use of signs advertising ice cream, candy and soda, which they believed might be misleading to those not seeking medical marijuana products. One medical marijuana center owner present at the meeting said he supported the intent or new sign regulations, but requested that he still be allowed to inform potential customers of his wares. Staff was directed to explore signage options that might include both text and symbols to inform people of the different products involved.
Smells emanating from centers has also been a frequent topic of complaints, according to some members of council. Although the possibility of dealing with the odors as a nuisance violation under the current Land Use Code already exists, Town Manager Greg Clifton said, he suggested such an avenue might not be the most effective way to deal with the problem. Staff was directed to pursue language that would mandate carbon filters or other such solutions to negate filtration of odors into the public way.
Town Planner Michelle Haynes asked council for direction to create a plan for cultivation of medical marijuana in town limits. While centers need to submit a cultivation plan upon initial licensing, changes are not always reported and she feared that problems dealing with power loads and humidity could adversely affect buildings if they are not more strictly regulated.
AN INCREASE IN THEFTS
Telluride Chief Marshal, James Kolar told the Telluride Town Council on Tuesday that crime in town is up. Class “A” Property offenses and Violent Crime rose approximately 36 percent in 2010 from 2009, “with the most significant changes seen in the categories of Assault, Theft and Burglary.” Less serious Class “B” offenses saw a 22 percent increase in reported crimes, “with Trespass and Disorderly Conduct offenses leading the way.” Kolar also reported that the town had seen a five-year high in number of reported traffic accidents.
TOWN ON BUDGET
Telluride’s financial position seems to be on track, according to Telluride Finance Director Lynne Beck.
“To be at 19.8 percent of target revenue, I feel comfortable,” Beck told the town council on Tuesday.
While Real Estate Transfer Tax revenues were of concern to some on council, Town Manager Greg Clifton said that direct comparison to the previous year can be misleading. “RETT is very erratic,” he said. “I’m happy that we’re less than one half a percentage point off of budgeting.”
While Councilmember Thom Carnavale expressed a wish that the town remain cautious, especially in watching RETT income, Councilmember Chris Myers said that he was happy to see that the conservative budgeting adopted by the town was proving to be successful.
The Telluride Town Council unanimously approved a letter of support for a Tri-County Water Conservancy District hydropower project at the Ridgway Dam and Reservoir in Ouray County. The project would use the flow through the existing Ridgway Dam and would generate close to 22 million KWH each year, according to Telluride Project Manager Karen Guglielmone, “enough power for approximately 2,000 homes.” The project is projected to be constructed in 2013/2014.
The town’s letter expressed interest in possibly purchasing Renewable Energy Credits sometime in 2014 or 2015, but fell short of a commitment to do so due to the volatility of the energy market and the apparent inability to commit future town budgets to the expenditure. Members of council lauded the project as part of a “multi-pronged effort” to bring greener energy to the region by looking beyond individual municipalities to create more effective energy solutions.