Moratoriums up for debate at Tuesday’s meeting
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.