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

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

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Past Event

Oak Creek Town Board meeting

  • Thursday, June 9, 2011, 7 p.m.
  • Oak Creek Town Hall, 129 Nancy Crawford Boulevard, Oak Creek, CO
  • All ages / Free

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— 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.

Comments

Scott Wedel 3 years, 6 months ago

Well, I suppose the Oak Creek Town Board can do their best to finish off the local economy by becoming a high tax town and driving away remaining local business.

The Town government has so many issues that it is pursuing a sales tax should be considered as the final piece of the puzzle, not the first.

The overriding issue is that a town of less than 900 people with a general fund of about $300K was stated by Town Board members returning from a DOLA meeting a few years ago as not being a viable situation. Well, nothing has changed and the lack of money for street maintenance has caused the streets to notably deteriorate which is destroying the adjacent concrete curbs and sidewalks. The town owned enterprises of water, sewer and electricity are all paying more for town employees to provide billing, repair and administration services than any business would pay so water and sewer rates are so high and the town's electrical grid has so many issues while having inept electricity billing services and is the last water/sewer dept in the State to not have water meters on at least their commercial customers.

Town of Yampa works because they have no police dept (pay a modest amount which is a small fraction of OCPD's budget to the sheriff's dept), have a simple straightforward zoning, and have a modest maintenance budget that keeps things about the same.

Town of Oak Creek needs to go back to the fundamental assumptions regarding town government and come up with a viable model of Town Government given the population, property tax base and limited sales tax revenues. Town of Ouray is similar in population, but as a tourism town has about 8 times the sales tax revenues and with successful businesses also has higher property values.

Stagecoach has more residential units than Oak Creek and is doing just fine without a town government. Phippsburg is smaller and has some hwy 131 commercial businesses and is doing okay. Certainly, streets are not decaying and they have reasonable water/sewer rates.

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Scott Wedel 3 years, 6 months ago

As for cottage industry rules, the point of the cottage industry designation is to provide a means for allowing signs and mitigating the effects of commercial activity in a residential neighborhood. So the commercial activity that would otherwise presumably cause violations of the nuisance code can be conditionally allowed.

But if the goal is to regulate home businesses then the result is going to mean regulating anyone that works from home or has a home office for their service business or internet entrepreneur or musician or dump truck owner and so on.

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