WALSENBURG — The city council Tuesday night voted 4-3 (with council members Cathy Pineda and James Baca absent) to direct City Attorney Dan Hyatt to prepared potential changes in city’s medical marijuana ordinance to possibly eliminate or change the distance requirements between a dispensary and a private residence. The move came following a request from Pete and Maria Platt, Plattinum Organics, who are proposing to open a medical marijuana dispensary on West 7th St. in the former Lenzini Motor Company / Journey Home building. The motion to direct Hyatt to prepare an amendment to the ordinance was made by Rick Jennings and he was joined voting in favor of the move by Mayor James Eccher, and council members Charlie Montoya and Clint Boehler. Opposing the motion were Sylvana Lind, Nick Vigil, and Craig Lessar. Boehler asked the Platts if their business plan ever called for them moving into the retail, or recreational marijuana business and they said, yes, they would like to, but understood at this time the council has
banned such businesses within the city limits. Currently the city ordinance calls for a 200 foot barrier between a private residence and a medical marijuana dispensary. In other business, the city council voted 7-0 to enter into a no-cost first phase Energy Performance Contract with the Trane Company. The company will perform an energy use audit for the city to look for ways for Walsenburg to cut its energy expenses. The presentation made to council members in a prior committee meeting and repeated briefly by Mark Holmes of Trane, says some of the areas that could be checked include city building’s HVAC-boiler and controls; facility, outdoor and street lighting; and water and waste water systems. Council voted to author and sign a letter of support for a plan spearheaded by Fred Rodriquez to possibly, through grant funds, put a School Resource Officer into the Re-1 School District. If the program ever happens, it has the potential to be run through the Huerfano Sheriff’s Office and cover both school districts located in the county. Mayor Eccher proclaimed April 6 through the 12th, as Week of the Young Child. Council unanimously approved moving forward with a proposed Intergovernmental Agreement between the city and the Colorado Department of Transportation concerning pricing of city water sales to the state agency at the standard $3.30 per 1,000 gallon rate. Council unanimously approved a memorandum of Understanding with the Third Judicial District Attorney’s Office’s Victim Service department. A Memorandum of Understanding between the city police department and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives did not fare as well, being defeated on a 4-3 vote, with opposition led by council member Boehler. Boehler spoke during the pre-regular meeting work session against the city’s involvement with the eTrace program on the grounds of 2nd Amendment privacy concerns. Joining Boehler in voting against participation in the program were Lind, Montoya, and Jennings. Voting in support of the program were Vigil, Craig Lessar and Mayor Eccher. Walsenburg Police Chief Tommie McLallen had told the council he supported the program. With the recent purchase of Safeway by the Albertson’s Company, the city council will take a look at a possible alley vacation near the local grocery, with an eye on keeping the utility easements in place.