The first order of business at the May 9 Hotchkiss Town Council was to conduct a public hearing on a hotel/restaurant liquor license for the North Fork Valley Restaurant at 141 W. Bridge Street. Owner Larry Jakubiak explained that the renewal notice was lost in the mail for six months, and by the time it was realized what had happened, the restaurant's liquor license had expired.
Therefore, Jakubiak had to do all the paperwork and go through a hearing as if it were the first time the restaurant was going to serve alcohol.
There are some new improvements to the restaurant. A colorful outdoor patio has been added. Previously, Jakubiak had parked his car behind the restaurant. Now patrons can enjoy outdoor dining and partying.
The town and the downtown improvement committee have created a "pocket park" between the restaurant and the adjacent building that includes The Rose.
The hotel/restaurant license will allow the restaurant to serve beer, wine and cocktails. The license does not allow for liquor to be taken off the property. The license will cover the entire property — inside and on the patio. Jakubiak had paid all fees. The council unanimously approved his application.
The second hearing was to hear what the public thinks of retail recreational marijuana establishments within town limits. State voters approved the use of recreational marijuana last year, but gave local town and county governments the ability to regulate related commercial businesses.
Among the submitted written comments were these. "I, Lura Reschke, think it is highly unnecessary ..."
Joan Queen wrote, "No, no for many reasons. Number one — bad decisions made. Number two — What does it do to the body? Number three — Next generation of children. Number four — Cost to the police. Number five — Leads to other drugs. Number six — Not in our town."
Jean Hudson submitted, "I'm against any stores in Hotchkiss town limits selling marijuana."
Speakers at the public hearing included Mary Hockenbery who stated, "I think we would want that to be mitigated the way we do any other commercial application to manufacture food here. You would take the neighbors into account. With the vacant store fronts, [and] that the voters have approved this in the State of Colorado. In 10 years nobody is going to be that excited about it. You can look at this hearing and just compare it to the medical marijuana a few years ago and there aren't even that many people here. It's not a hot button for the town anymore. My own opinion is it's personal choice — not that different than alcohol."
John Marta said, "I don't think we need it in Hotchkiss. We already have too much stuff going on for young kids to get. They can get alcohol even if they aren't old enough . . . What's it going to do to this next generation. They get high. They wreck . . . What's going to keep them from getting marijuana? . . . We don't need anyone to sell it in Hotchkiss. It's too easy to get already."
Tom Wills noted, "We already have marijuana in Hotchkiss . . . Everyone from 12 years old and older has easy access to marijuana right now. I think having retail establishments in town will make it safer . . because we can't ban marijuana. We can't ban the legal growing of marijuana . . . you can grow six plants in your home and possess an ounce of marijuana. Adults should have personal choice."
Jane Wills spoke on the benefits of medical marijuana.
Mayor Wendell Koontz said the town has until Oct. 1 to develop its own regulations.
In other decisions, the council voted on donation requests. Not one person from any of the three organizations sent a representative to answer questions. No action was taken on the Hotchkiss Home Plate request or the Creamery Arts Center. The council approved for trustee Carrie Wingfield and Mary Hockenbery of the planning commission to attend Rural Philanthropy Days in Ouray. The workshop with donors and foundations will take place on June 18.
After hearing from Sarah Carlquist and John Gavin of Delta County Economic Development (DCED), the council approved a letter of support to be sent to the DMEA board of directors. The letter encourages DMEA, which is planning to install fiber-optic cable on all their transmission routes and substations, to make broadband Internet services available throughout the county. DCED believes this will benefit the economy and local businesses.
Kimberly Mihelich, source water specialist with the Colorado Rural Water Association, presented the latest draft of the Source Water Protection Plan for the Town of Hotchkiss. The council will vote whether to adopt the plan or not at their June 13 meeting.blog comments powered by Disqus