The Toledo City Council got their first glimpse Tuesday night of a city map that tentatively indicates where medical marijuana dispensaries could be legally located. The areas permissible are in pink and in light brown. They are either zoned commercial or industrial. The commercial properties are in pink – the industrial zoned properties are in light brown. As you can see, the pink areas are mainly south of Business Highway 20 through town with scattered locations at each end of 20. The light brown industrial zones run from the southeast along Butler Bridge Road and Olalla Slough, up Butler Bridge on the northeast side of the road and up to a spot just southeast of the intersection with Main.
The industrial zone then picks back up on the west side of the railroad tracks and loops around to the Bay Road. There are also clusters of pink and brown along West Business 20 to regular Highway 20. Again this is a tentative map. The council will try to adopt it officially at their August meeting after a couple of minor tweaks here and there.
The blue areas are properties within 1000 feet of a private or public school where medical marijuana dispensaries are forbidden under state law.
Other restrictions that the council appears ready to approve for the dispensaries includes:
* Close Toledo Police oversight including access to video and audio recordings from surveillance cameras as mandated by the state, who is allowed inside the dispensaries and who isn’t.
* No consumption of marijuana on premises.
* Specified hours of operation
* Criminal background checks on the medical marijuana license holder as well as their workers. Also, as an amplification of those requirements, City Attorney Wes Chadwick offered the recommendation that the owner and employees’ records also be checked for any white collar crime associated with any business.
The council unanimously agreed.
The city could be in a position to issue its first Medical Marijuana business license sometime in August. From their calculations, there’s likely to be no more than two, or maybe three dispensaries depending on how the spacing works out between them.
The City Council also got a report from Interim City Manager Don Munckers that the final go ahead to begin construction of Toledo’s new city water intake facility on the Siletz River may arrive Thursday or Friday.
The long awaited permit from the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) has the council on the edge of their seats since the terms of the big loan it took out, hinged on getting the intake facility built this construction season. If it isn’t, hundreds of thousands of dollars in penalties could be slapped on the city.
Mayor Ralph Grutzmacher and Interim City Manager Don Munkers have been working full time trying to get the required in-river biological assessment done but NMFS has been very slow to produce it – “we’re understaffed,” they say.
But after many phone calls and pressure applied by Oregon’s Congressional Delegation, it appears the permit will be approved by Thursday or Friday which means the project will finally get underway with a good chance it will be completed this construction season. There were eight sets of crossed fingers all around the council table, each hoping that the permit is issued in time.
We should learn very soon whether that happens.
In the meantime, should everything pan out with the Siletz intake project, there will be project surplus funds available for other much needed improvements to the city’s drinking water system. The amount of surplus funds could vary – up to several hundred thousand dollars or more. Public Works Director Marc Howatt told the council his top choice for projects that those funds should go for includes refurbishing the Ammon Road water tank. He said that’s the top of his list. The council said, okay, go for it. Howatt also indicated that he would like to apply the rest of the available surplus to replace various water lines around town that are old and failing and in desperate need of replacing. The council said, “sure.”
The council also talked briefly about the Newport City Council’s statement this week that it would like most Lincoln County communities to chip in and invest in the Newport Airport since it serves the entire county – if only by providing a place for private pilots to fly and store their planes but also for FedEx air freight to deliver packages throughout the county. The Newport Council also took note that there are many economic development opportunities at the airport that all Lincoln County communities could benefit from as more light manufacturing, ocean science and food processing opportunities emerge.
But the Toledo City Council seemed cool to the idea, viewing the range of Newport Airport benefits pretty much limited to whether the airport ever attracts stable regularly scheduled passenger airline service. Several councilors said “no way” would they vote to send any money to the Newport Airport – that Toledo has a new pool to build and other projects that are higher on the list. Mayor Grutzmacher announced that he has been appointed to the Newport Airport Advisory Committee as a gesture to include the views and possible needs of air service or air freight in farther flung areas of the county.
To be continued, no doubt.