Trustees put retail marijuana on agenda for next week

By Rudy Hemmann

The Surveyor

The Berthoud Board of Trustees held a study session Tuesday evening and reviewed a draft of a strengthened dog leash ordinance, an ordinance banning ash trees within the town limits, a draft of an ordinance which would allow the retail sale of marijuana within the town limits and heard a presentation by Sam Betters of the Loveland Housing Authority regarding starting a housing authority in Berthoud.

The purported purpose of the study sessions are to encourage the trustees to engage in discussion and/or invite presenters who are more knowledgeable on a subject and ask questions of those presenters to gain from their expertise; and since the meeting is informal no town business may be transacted (no votes may be taken) there should be no pressure to accomplish anything legislatively.

All of the items below will be brought before the board at a future business meeting, discussed by the trustees and opened for public comment before being acted upon.

Sargent Jim Anderson, Chief of the Berthoud Police Force, presented the updated leash ordinance. He stated that dogs that are not on private property – of either the owner of the animal or of a care-taker – it must be on a leash and under control.

The ordinance used to allow a dog owner to claim his animal was “under his voice control” as the dog runs ahead unleashed. Under the new ordinance this will not be permitted.

Anderson indicated the change noted above would be the most difficult for some dog owners to get used to. He related that enforcement of the changes made to the code would begin with warnings. He also said it will be a process of educating the town’s residents about the new rules.

The trustees had numerous questions and comments for Anderson regarding the issue. The need for a dog park was brought up during discussion.

A draft copy of an ordinance which would legalize the retail sale of marijuana within the town limits was presented by Peter Linder of the law firm of Bell, Gould, Linder & Scott. Linder has extensive knowledge of the State of Colorado marijuana laws and was able to navigate through the legalese and answer the many questions the trustees had for him. He noted the draft ordinance, as written, would allow stores for the sale of marijuana only, grow operations and extraction facilities would not be allowed. There was discussion concerning whether to have the board act on the measure or if the measure should be placed on a ballot for the town residents to decide. The issue will be placed on next week’s agenda when a decision will be rendered.

An ordinance making it against town code to plant ash trees on public properties (parks, tree lawns, etc.) and in new subdivisions was discussed. Some of the board members thought an outright ban on ash trees on private property as well was overreaching by the board.

The board had expressed an interest in starting a housing authority in Berthoud, hence the presentation concerning that topic given by Betters.

Following a brief presentation, he opened for questions and discussion by the board. Mayor Mulvihill expressed doubts that the town was financially able to afford the additional staff required to run a local housing authority. Betters responded that the first step is to determine the amount of public support there is for the formation of an authority.  He stated if there is enough public support anything is possible.

Betters also indicated the Loveland Housing Authority would work with the Berthoud community to establish a Berthoud Housing Authority.

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