Oak Creek Town Board to discuss cottage industry, taxes on Thursday | SteamboatToday.com

Oak Creek Town Board to discuss cottage industry, taxes on Thursday

Members will discuss parameters for small businesses during 7 p.m. meeting

— Thursday night's Oak Creek Town Board meeting will be heavy on discussion, addressing cottage industry parameters and sales tax.

The board meets at 7 p.m. Thursday in the Oak Creek Town Hall, 129 Nancy Crawford Blvd.

On the agenda is a discussion item regarding cottage industry pertaining to residential growing of medical marijuana.

A hot topic over recent months, the discussion will reflect recent complaints about Oak Creek residents that are growing large amounts of marijuana in their homes. The board hopes to address the occurrences through the land-use code via the cottage industry regulations.

The board held a work session last week on the matter, and Trustee Bernie Gagne said the issue would require at least another work session to wade through all of the gray area.

"Cottage industry is something that hasn't been enforced and documented in town, be it caregiver-marijuana related or if it's someone splitting wood in their driveway and selling it," he said. At the work session, the Town Board "read through existing ordinances to determine what should we do for enforcement."

He said the board identified many of the rules and regulations in place in the land-use code; however, they are not often enforced. He said home-run businesses should be subject to review and licensure by the Oak Creek Planning Commission and comply with the town's regulations.

But the process hits a few snags when applied to the medical marijuana industry.

"A large part of the conversation is, where does the caregiver fall in, and can we regulate a caregiver?" Gagne said. So far, their findings indicate that the town can regulate caregivers as cottage industries, but town attorney Bob Weiss will review that finding.

"If we can get procedures in place and follow rules set in ordinance … then we have to expect people to follow through," Gagne said.

Another discussion on the agenda that has not seen as much attention in recent months is the possibility of a proposed town sales tax increase on the November ballot.

Gagne said the idea has been touched on in the past.

"We can put it on the ballot, and the general feeling is that no one wants to increase sales taxes," he said. "But looking at projected property tax assessment down tens of thousands of dollars, and the projected sales tax down tens of thousands of dollars, we might have to make up $50,000 for the 2012 budget year. "

The sales tax rate is 3 percent for the town. With a 1 percent county sales tax and 3 percent for the state, Oak Creek residents pay 7 percent sales tax.

For more information, call the town clerk at 970-736-2422.