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City council approves Martra closing extension

 WALSENBURG — Walsenburg City Council voted unanimously Tuesday night to approve a closing extension until July 2, 2015, for the sale of city land to Martra Holdings, and authorized Mayor James Eccher to further extend the date if necessary. Martra plans to develop The Farms at Spanish Peaks on approximately 300 acres of land on the city-owned ranch for construction of individual greenhouse suites aimed at the marijuana cultivation market. The extension ties into the city’s plans, and Martra’s desires, that the acreage involved be annexed into city limits this summer. Councilman Charles Montoya joked with Martra President and CEO Brian Trani, saying the company should pony up another $25,000 in good faith earnest money. “I’ll tell you what Mr. Montoya, “ Trani said, “ I like your style, that’s what I would do if I was sitting there.” Trani said he would discuss the idea with the company principals, and Walsenburg’s mayor and administrator. It is now expected the transfer of property from the city to Martra may be delayed until the annexation of approximately 500 total acres of the ranch begins. While council supported that marijuana related move, they appeared to be tired of zoning minutiae concerning

retail marijuana by voting down, 6 to 2, a proposed ordinance concerning measuring the distance between retail marijuana outlets and other buildings. Mayor Pro Tem Craig Lessar voiced concerns that a retail cultivation greenhouse could be located at a property line, possibly right against a residential back yard, as long as it was 250 feet away from the other structure using a route of direct pedestrian access. In other business: Council approved Ordinance 1063, on second reading allowing an additional 25¢ surcharge on municipal tickets to assist in paying for the city’s new police dog. Approved the liquor license renewal application for the Silver Dollar Inn; approved a special events permit for Walsenburg Downtown Revitalization allowing liquor sales at the community center for the June 20 Lincoln Day Diner and Republican party fundraiser. Approved Ordinance 1065 on first reading. The ordinance amends parts of the 1975 city zoning ordinance regarding ancillary structures (tool and garden sheds for example) in residential zones. Approved Ordinance 1066 on first reading to eliminate one city position on the Walsenburg Planning and Zoning Commission, leaving the mayor on the commission as an ex-officio member. Both ordinances appear in today’s World Journal legals section. Approved Resolution 2015-R-15, which adopts a three-mile plan for development around the city limits. While the state’s department of local affairs says this kind of plan should be reviewed, and updated if necessary annually, Walsenburg had not updated the plan since 2001. The plan was put together by P & Z member Carol Roesch. Council also approved a sale agreement with the Rio Cucharas Hotel in which city hired life guards will be allowed to use the pool at the Rio on May 22 and May 24 for certification and the hotel will be authorized to hang a four by eight foot sign on the north facing fence at Walsenburg Wild Waters for the 2015 season. Council approved an expenditure of $100 per month and $50 per hour, when necessary, for Fred Hand for use of his waste water operator’s license for waste water associated with the Northlands’ project.