Jan 282011

By Naomi Hatch —

“With the passage of Arizona Proposition 203, the Department of Health Services (DHS) has established regulations pertaining to the cultivation, use and distribution of medical marijuana,” said Dale Call of Snowflake’s Planning and Zoning/Building Safety Department at the Jan. 25 council meeting.

“With the creation of this new state law, the Town of Snowflake is now required to allow the distribution and cultivation of medical marijuana,” said Call.

Call had put together an ordinance that was reviewed by the council in previous meetings where comments and suggestions were made on it.

One of the issues was the State law that requires a 500’ limit from churches and schools, so Call sent an e-mail to all council members for their input. The majority of wanted a 1,000’ limit, but Councilman Tom Poscharsky felt strongly that 1,000’ would preclude having a dispensary on the main street, which would make it easier for police to keep a watchful eye on it.

Call said, “While the Town of Snowflake may or may not agree with the establishment of the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act, or the rules and regulations created by DHS and specifically enumerated within A.R.S. Title 36, we do acknowledge the right of the people to petition government for the creation of the laws and ordinances under which they are to be governed.” He then recommended adoption of Ordinance 11-331.

“From all discussions we’ve had and some I’ve had talking with other people, I understand this ordinance is something we need to do,” said Mayor Kelly Willis. “The problem now is we just don’t know what’s going to happen,” referring to the fact that the state has not finalized the law.

“What I’m suggesting to the council is to go ahead and accept the ordinance, realizing we can adopt changes in the ordinance,” said Willis.

Call explained that any ordinance that has been adopted can be amended or a variance can be requested.

“I would still like it on the record that we would like Show Low to do it (open the dispensary) if we’re within the 25 miles,” said Councilman Larry Matyas.

Councilman Jason Whiting agreed, if it were within the 25-mile radius.

The law states that if there is not a dispensary within 25 miles, individuals may grow up to 12 marijuana plants in their home.

“We’re essentially going with the advice of the league (Arizona League of Cities and Towns) to have an ordinance ready,” said Call.

A motion to hold the first reading of Ordinance 11-331 passed unanimously.

In other business, the council held the first reading of Ordinance 11-332, creating a manufactured home overlay.

Call explained that on Oct. 25, 2010, the council asked staff to research the feasibility of creating a new overlay zone which would allow the placement of manufactured homes in zoning districts that otherwise do not allow them. Call presented the concept to the Planning and Zoning Commission Jan. 4, and the commission was unanimous in its recommendation of the creation of the overlay zone. The concept was then presented at the Jan. 11 council meeting.

“It will be after the ordinance passes that I will contact property owners,” said Call.