Medical marijuana, strippers in Havre?
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A new committee will examine whether to allow medical marijuana businesses in Havre, after the city received a request to locate a growing facility here. Mayor Tim Solomon said someone has asked about locating a facility to grow medical marijuana in the city. He appointed Janet Trethewey to chair a committee that will include Allen "Woody" Woodwick, Andrew Brekke and Pam Hillery. The committee will look at how best to handle the request. "I've heard comments, and there's pretty strong feelings both ways on it," Solomon said. "There's enough questions that we'd revert it to committee," he said. "We don't have the type of zoning for it right now, and that's what we're looking at right now, whether we want to open up for it," he said. Many cities zone medical marijuana businesses in heavy industrial zones because of the amounts of electricity and water used, he said. "Right now, our ordinances don't allow it, and we're looking at how it fits in, or if it does fit in, to our structure here," Solomon said. Other communities across the state are asking the same questions, and many are putting moratoriums on the requests until more research can be done. The committee will decide if Havre needs to place a similar moratorium on the businesses, he said. The committee also will deal with annexation issues that might arise with future rounds of the process, Solomon said, but added that he's not pigeon-holing it. "If there's any new issues, such as this medical marijuana, it's this committee that can look at it as far as development in Havre," he said. Also during City Council's meeting Tuesday evening, Hillery said she has heard a complaint that two businesses in Havre are carrying out strip club activities. Whether that is allowed or not depends on zoning, she said after the meeting, adding that an ordinance is explicit about what is and isn't allowed. She told fellow council members that she recommended that the indiVidual speak with the businesses first. She said that the concerned individual plans to circulate a petition to have the activities ended. Also during the meeting: • Hillery asked if police officers and Public Works personnel could note addresses of street lamps that are not working properly, since she received a complaint about several not working. The quickest way to get the bulbs replaced is to call NorthWestern Energy at (888) 467-2669, Public Works Director Dave Peterson said. • No comments were made from the public during a public hearing concerning subdivision code changes. No substantial changes were made, Peterson said. Hill County has already adopted the changes. "You need some basis for why we make decisions," Hill County Sanitarian and Planner Clay Vincent said. The changes help ensure that as more growth occurs, it remains orderly, he said. • Emily Mayer requested on behalf of Lou Lucke that the S Curve park close to Montana State University- Northern campus be renamed Lucke Taylor Park in honor of two historically prominent Havre families who donated the land to the city for a park. The request was referred to the Parks and Recreation Committee for further review. The committee will meet March 8 at 6 p.m. in City Hall. • Council members unanimously approved accepting an $86,950 loan through the state Board of Investments' Intercap revolving loan program. The money will be used to purchase an asphalt reclaiming machine. The interest rate is variable by year, and this year's rate is 3.25 percent. • Solomon appointed Dennis Morgan to the City-County Planning Board. • Council member Bob Kaul gave an update on the recent visit of the city's insurance agency, Montana Municipal Interlocal Authority, and the Montana Safety Bureau. He said that the visit went well, and changes are already being implemented. No fines were levied against the city as a result of the audit. • Trethewey questioned what happened with a request for the city's support in reopening an environmental impact study for making U.S. Highway 2 east of Havre into a fourlane highway. A meeting is being set up between the Army Corps of Engineers, the state highway department and the Federal Highway Administration, Kaul said. During that meeting, the city hopes to get more answers about how the process of reopening the EIS would affect a project planned to go to bid in July that would create an enhanced two-lane highway. There is some support for conducting another environmental study to see if a four-lane highway is acceptable. • Council next meets Monday, March 1, at 7 p.m. in City Hall.