Council members Pat Whitley, Vice Mayor Ernie Teague, Brooks Mitchell and Mayor Mark Marin were present in the absence of member John Cussins.
Brooks stated they wanted to recognize input by citizens. It was a meager crowd in competition with the Loyalton High School girls’ basketball CIF State Northern CA Division 6 Regional Play offs being held at the local gym.
First to speak, Jason Van Daam told the Council it sounded “like you’re taking a lot away and we won’t be able to get it.” He suggested they “grandfather in some things you just can’t change.” He told of needing a 4-foot area to grow and it takes 18 plants to get 12, calling the number “depressing.”
Council member Pat Whitley talked of California rules, looking at the rights of the people and trying to do what doesn’t bring in the element of stealing.
Jason felt it “terrible to ban something.” He talked of "no money to heat a building.”
Brooks Mitchell questioned the need of transportation and Jason answered they’re taking it somewhere else from here.
Don Yegge of Sierra Brooks stated the County had put a lot of time and effort in its upcoming resolution and he didn’t think anything was wrong with it. For commercial grows, he didn’t think there was room or space in Loyalton. He mentioned commercial grows and the criminal element associated with it. He told of the County having done a compliant check and “everybody is out of compliance.”
County Supervisor Scott Schlefstein talked of the initiative process and whether or not commercial grows are being allowed. He stated outdoor grows requiring 2 acres or more being considered and probably will take a vote. Structures have to fit a parameter, he explained.
County Supervisor Jim Beard added the current ordinance considers just medical marijuana and not commercial.
Sarah Grew came from PIke and spoke on behalf of cultivators, thoroughly involved with Growers Association of Sierra County and “lots of good things happening.” She spoke of Prop. 215 and being part of a collective, legal, non-profit organization with the main gardener getting a salary with a different financial structure than commercial. She said only a doctor and patient can figure out what’s appropriate; different for cancer or AIDS. Under question from Brooks, she said there was no annual inspection. She continued that a delivery service runs a directive.
Pat said it wouldn’t work in the city because they don’t have land.
The mayor was impressed with what Sara knew, stating she’s not a “pot head.” That drew sharp criticism from Jason who stated he’s “disabled; not a pot head.”
Sara stated the cost of growing can be upwards of $30,000, an unsustainable route for the industry. She said “sun and soil are right here.”
Phyllis DeMartini from the audience said some may not want to live next to 13-foot marijuana plants and residents can’t build a fence over 6-foot high. She was against cultivation with commercial use and questioned traffic, asking, “What do we benefit from it?” She questioned, “Why use water resources through a drought.” She suggested those cultivating be put on meters.
Pat had heard from several residents about outdoor grows and greenhouses broken into.
Taking the floor, Loyalton City Clerk Tracy Smith asked the Council if it had done research on how it was legal in the first place and financial jobs it creates. She had been in banking 15 years and stated it was an opportunity here. She questioned them on indoor grows and what it does to homes and said they need to make an educated decision.
Tristan Grew talked on how legalized marijuana threatens the medical community and pharmaceuticals. He talked of hemp and a lot of industry.
Pat questioned how to handle it and what’s good or bad for this town.
Mark said it has to be regulated.
Sarah said Pike is allowed to grow because it’s rural. She mentioned Loyalton allowing for distribution and safe access to medicine. If disregarded, dispensaries will be forced to grow, she said. She stated growing indoors was “not a good route.”
Brooks wanted to continue until the County does its ordinance. Pat questioned why and Mark said so they can hear what the County says. Brooks stated for transportation, to see what others do and he didn’t care about what Portola does.
Tracy invited Pat to go see a dispensary, “cleaner than a doctor’s office.”
LOYALTON CITY COUNCIL met March 15th in the absence of member John Cussins. Counsel Steve Gross was present.
There will be a special meeting March 29th at 1 p.m. at City Hall for an audit review and possible action to address findings and corrective action.
Assistant Fire Chief Robert DeMartini gave the date for the annual Spaghetti Feed as May 14th at Sierra Brooks Lodge, starting at 5 p.m. He said the first of April would be the Fire Academy and the local fire department will send three people. ISO will soon show up for an evaluation and update for the rating on insurance and Robert is hoping for a better rating. Wildland Fire season training is in Beckwourth with six local volunteer firemen planning to go with Beckwourth’s department on incidents on its truck. Robert called it “a lot of training.” In conclusion, Robert stated, “All’s well in town.”
Mayor Mark Marin told of “troubles” getting a finance committee meeting but a special meeting would be held with the council to “get it all hashed out.” With approval of Bookkeeper Kim Lombardi stating, “You can pay as presented,” the Council approved $68,672.82 in bills paid.
Regarding disbursement and allocation of reimbursement funds received for response by Loyalton Volunteer Fire Department, acting treasurer for the fire department, Phyllis DeMartini, stated $19,088.46 was for the fire department and $795.76 for the association. She asked for a sub account to build up enough for major items such as a water tender and which can only be accessed by the fire department. The Council voted in favor of such an account and requiring a four-fifths vote of the entire council as a condition of the release of funds.
An update on the wastewater litigation was by Councilman Brooks Mitchell. On May 23 will be a settlement conference in Nevada City and Brooks and Mark will attend. Trial date is now May of 2017 with an estimate of 30 days for the trial. If they settle, they hope to cover costs. A 40-year project, the settlement will have to last 40 years.
Concerning rental of the park building to the County of Sierra, Counsel Steve Gross stated they need a map of the perimeter, a floor plan, insurance and a formula on how the electricity bill is segregated. The city will recarpet and buy paint for the interior. The County will take care of janitorial and pay for wifi.