If you go
What: Steamboat Springs City Council meeting
When: 5 p.m. today
Where: Centennial Hall, 124 10th St.
Call: City offices at 879-2060 for more information; call 871-7070 to listen live to City Council meetings
Online: Visit http://steamboats... to download materials for tonight's meeting of the Steamboat Springs City Council.
5 p.m. Review of the industrial enterprise zone program; 360 Village pre-annexation; first reading of an ordinance instituting a surcharge on violations of the municipal code; first reading of an ordinance requiring an approved final development plan before the issuance of a demolition permit in zone districts at the base of Steamboat Ski Area; an emergency moratorium on medical marijuana dispensaries; second reading of an ordinance amending the city's affordable housing ordinance
7 p.m. Public comment; Planning Commission referrals; City Council and staff reports; update on the Iron Horse Inn
Steamboat Springs Two local men have opened a medical marijuana dispensary in western Steamboat, just ahead of an emergency moratorium on such businesses to be considered by the Steamboat Springs City Council tonight.
Kevin Fisher - who is running the business with Ryan Fisher, no relation - said Monday the dispensary is "technically open" in the 2700 block of Downhill Plaza. The by-appointment-only dispensary has made a few transactions, Kevin Fisher said, but still is completing a tenant finish and won't be completely open until later this week.
The city's police and planning staff will present the emergency moratorium tonight. They said a moratorium would give them time to craft an ordinance governing dispensaries. Public Safety Director J.D. Hays said it should take about two weeks.
"I just think there needs to be regulations in place before they establish their business," said Hays, who said the resulting ordinance governing dispensaries would be similar to the city's adult-oriented business ordinance, which provides rules for businesses such as strip clubs and adult book stores.
"I don't see this as a whole lot different than that," Hays said. "Just like you have regulations for an adult book store or a liquor store, you should have them for a marijuana dispensary."
Kevin Fisher said Aug. 5 that he thought a moratorium was unnecessary and that it was unfair to compare a dispensary to an adult-oriented business.
"There's absolutely no correlation there," he said. "This is a legitimate remedy for people who suffer from a wide range of medical issues. : You have to get rid of the stigma." Colorado's Amendment 20 made the medical use of marijuana legal, with restrictions and a doctor's recommendation, beginning in 2001. There is little oversight of dispensaries at the state level. Other Western Slope communities - such as Basalt, Frisco, Silverthorne and Breckenridge - have approved similar moratoriums. Steamboat City Council members, however, responded coolly when the idea was presented to them two weeks ago without prior notice.
Also on the table
The City Council will receive an update tonight from Deputy City Manager Wendy DuBord about the Iron Horse Inn, which is on track to suffer a $500,000 loss this year. The city borrowed $5.3 million in 2007 to purchase the Iron Horse Inn to provide affordable, work force housing for city employees and others. It since has suffered several setbacks including a bed-bug infestation and the falling out of a contract with a local property manager.
The inn now is "virtually vacant," according to a city staff report, and council members will be asked whether they want to contract with New West Inns - which owns and operates the Comfort Inn in Steamboat - to manage the Iron Horse Inn as a nightly rental facility or have the city manage the inn itself. Both scenarios are projected to result in six-figure annual losses.
Council members also will consider today the approval of a pre-annexation agreement with the developers of 360 Village; the first reading of an ordinance instituting a surcharge on violations of the municipal code including parking and traffic violations; the first reading of an ordinance that would prevent developers from demolishing property at the base of Steamboat Ski Area without an approved plan for redevelopment; and the second reading of an ordinance making substantial changes to the city's affordable housing ordinance that would allow developers to satisfy the ordinance with a payment in lieu of building units or a combination of a fee and the institution of a real estate transfer tax.