Steamboat Springs The Steamboat Springs City Council's discussion with the residents of West Acres Mobile Home Park dominated Tuesday's meeting, but it was far from the only issue of significance on the agenda.
Council members also took their first look at a proposed ordinance regulating marijuana dispensaries in city limits. Dispensaries are popping up in several Western Slope communities, and the ordinance council is considering was spurred by several inquiries to the city by people hoping to open dispensaries in Steamboat. The city enacted a 90-day moratorium on such businesses last month, but not before two dispensaries opened their doors.
Under the draft ordinance, future medical marijuana dispensaries would be allowed as a permitted use, with conditions, in some commercial and industrial zone districts, but they could not be located on the pedestrian level on Lincoln Avenue or Yampa Street. Council members told city attorneys to scale back some of the more restrictive provisions of the draft ordinance, including one that would prevent dispensaries from operating within a mile of each other. Council members also said dispensaries should be allowed to operate from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. rather than 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., as was originally suggested by staff.
Council added, however, a requirement that dispensary operators be required to undergo background checks and stuck by the suggestion that dispensaries be prevented from using the word marijuana or depictions of the marijuana plant in signs or advertising.
Also Tuesday, council members voted, 4-1, to move forward with a plan to install several energy-efficient and renewable energy upgrades to its facilities citywide. The cost of the project - which includes lighting upgrades, solar system installation and optimization of heating and air conditioning systems - is estimated at $1,050,000, with a payback period of nine to 10 years. The city would finance the project with "performance contracting" and service the debt with guaranteed savings in its utility bills. Councilwoman Cari Hermaicnksi voted against the plan.
"I think if this is a true priority of the city, we should pay cash and keep the savings for ourselves," she said.
Additionally, council members approved 3.2-beer liquor licenses for Pizza Hut and Wal-Mart; approved a budget for the Local Marketing District, which collects a 2 percent lodging tax across the city to support commercial flights to Yampa Valley Regional Airport; and agreed to give $25,000 to the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club to help it host Olympic qualifiers for the U.S. Freestyle and Nordic Combined ski teams this winter.
"The city staff is recommending it because of the national TV coverage," City Manager Jon Roberts said. "This $25,000 is marketing money well spent."