Mora­to­ri­ums up for de­bate at Tues­day’s meet­ing

Siloam Springs Herald Leader - - FRONT PAGE - By Michael Burch­fiel Staff Writer mburch­fiel@nwadg.com

The Siloam Springs Board of Di­rec­tors is set to tackle an agenda head­lined by a pair of mora­to­rium pro­pos­als and a grant ap­pli­ca­tion that has the po­ten­tial to speed up a pro­posed side­walk project along East Main Street.

The first pro­posed mora­to­rium would, if approved, es­tab­lish a 180-day pe­riod dur­ing which no ap­pli­ca­tions, per­mits, li­censes or other ac­tions could be is­sued re­gard­ing med­i­cal mar­i­juana.

A staff re­port on the pro­posed mora­to­rium noted that while the con­sti­tu­tional amend­ment to al­low med­i­cal mar­i­juana was nar­rowly passed in Novem­ber 2016, this past six months have seen the ap­proval of 23 dif­fer­ent amend­ments to the is­sue.

The Arkansas Med­i­cal Mar­i­juana Commission has pub­lished a draft of pro­posed rules and reg­u­la­tions to gov­ern what will be a new in­dus­try in the state, but no fi­nal rules have been pub­lished. The state is ex­pected to be­gin tak­ing ap­pli­ca­tions from po­ten­tial grow­ers, pro­ces­sors and dis­pen­saries on July 1.

Ac­cord­ing to the staff re­port, the mora­to­rium was pro­posed to al­low for time for the city gov­ern­ment to es­tab­lish rules and pro­ce­dures.

The re­port also notes that mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties are al­lowed to pass a ban on mar­i­juana dis­pen­saries and cul­ti­va­tion fa­cil­i­ties by a pop­u­lar vote. The first op­por­tu­nity for such a vote would be May 2018. Within the city of Siloam Springs’ five vot­ing precincts, the bal­lot is­sue al­low­ing med­i­cal mar­i­juana failed by a vote of 48 per­cent for to 52 per­cent against.

A sec­ond mora­to­rium on the agenda for Tues­day’s bal­lot is for a 120 day ban on ap­pli­ca­tions for per­mits for mo­bile home or man­u­fac­tured home de­vel­op­ments.

The pro­posed mora­to­rium is in re­sponse to a re­vised per­mit ap­pli­ca­tion for a de­vel­op­ment south of High­way 59, which drew con­sid­er­able pub­lic crit­i­cism in its first it­er­a­tion.

“Staff is aware of the need for af­ford­able hous­ing in Siloam Springs, and has no de­sire to un­nec­es­sar­ily de­lay lo­cal eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment,” the staff re­port said. “How­ever, it has been over 25 years since Siloam Springs has approved a new mo­bile/man­u­fac­tured home de­vel­op­ment, and our per­ti­nent de­vel­op­ment reg­u­la­tions have not been up­dated in more than 16 years.”

The re­port said that the mora­to­rium is pro­posed in or­der to give staff time to re­search, re­ceive in­put on and prepare an or­di­nance or or­di­nances that would re­vise and up­date the city’s pol­icy on mo­bile home and man­u­fac­tured home de­vel­op­ments.

The third res­o­lu­tion on the agenda is a pro­posal to ap­ply for a Trans­porta­tion Al­ter­na­tives Pro­gram grant that, if awarded, would take care of 80 per­cent of the con­struc­tion costs of build­ing a side­walk along East Main Street from Lin­coln Street to Coun­try Club Road.

If the city is awarded the grant, the funding would pay for $108,000 of the costs and would re­quire a $27,000 lo­cal match. Staff would then re­quest a budget amend­ment to move the project into the 2018 budget.

The agenda also in­cludes ap­provals for peak elec­tri­cal de­mand cred­its for Simmons Wet Foods, a pur­chase for 505 East Ben­ton Street, a va­cant lot to be used by the Streets Divi­sion; and a pur­chase for a back­hoe. Sec­ond read­ings will also be con­sid­ered for a re­zon­ing per­mit for 2277 Dawn Hill Road and an or­di­nance as­sign­ing zon­ing and wards to City Lake and the Kayak park.

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