Lamar City Council Deals with Pot, Pit Bulls, Ponies, Pets and Property

 

marijuana (3)

The passage of Amendment 64 on the state constitution, has required the City of Lamar to review its Municipal Code and identify changes to keep the city’s ordinances regarding marijuana possession and use in compliance with the most recent upgrades to the state’s statutes.  The city made some ordinance changes in 2013, but additional changes are needed to make the City’s Code regarding personal use of marijuana easier to understand and enforce.  The council passed the ordinance on first reading.  The ordinance redefines illegal possession of drug paraphernalia by an underage person, unlawful possession of marijuana, open marijuana container prohibitions and penalties and adds Section 10-12-90 which supersedes sections 10-12-(40)(70)(80), making it consistent with constitutional changes brought about by the passage of Amendment 64.  Lamar Police Chief, Kyle Miller, read the ordinance and paraphrased its scope relating to persons using marijuana in a lawful manner who must be 21 years or older, must not be on public property when using the drug and  any medical marijuana needs to be transported in a container with an unbroken, original seal.

The Animal Assistance Foundation from Lakewood, Colorado has offered a matching grant of $18,500 to hire a manager for the Lamar Animal Shelter and to upgrade the quality of resources and services to improve shelter conditions and operations.  $15,000 will be used for a match of salary costs for the shelter manager and $3,500 will be used for supplies for shelter operations.  The grant may be extended by AAF after the first year of the agreement.  City Administrator, John Sutherland, told the council, “We’ll begin a search for the right individual who can make improvements to the shelter, motivate and develop several volunteers who will work for the benefit of the animals and create a community awareness of how the shelter should be run.”  Sutherland acknowledged that conditions at the shelter have not been the best and the city wants to turn that around.  He said the city has been working with the AAF for almost a year to work out details of the proposal.  Mayor Roger Stagner asked, “Are we going to get into the cat business,” remarking on some of the provisions of the agreement with AAF, calling for the development of cat control in the community.  Sutherland responded, “That’s something we can work towards to, but there isn’t any deadline for action on our part right away.”  Sutherland said the person hired to run the shelter will be employed on a contract basis, similar to the one used for the city’s Welcome Center.

Lamar Animal Shelter

Lamar Animal Shelter

An ordinance requiring that Pit Bull dogs maintained within the City of Lamar boundaries be spayed or neutered was approved by the council on first reading.  There are some exceptions to the ordinancing including that the dog is under eight weeks of age, cannot be altered with a high likelihood of suffering serious bodily harm as determined by the certification of a veterinarian; the Pit Bull has been present in the City of Lamar for less than 30 days and the owner has obtained a license to keep an intact or non-altered Pit Bull.  The ordinance also stipulates that the intact license pertains to a show or breeding dog, certified by a copy of the AKC or UKC organization’s documentations.  If the Pit Bull is to be used for breeding, the applicant of an intact license must have a business license, an Intact Pit Bull license and documentation that if kept as a show dog, the animal must have participated in at least one sanctioned dog show in the past 365 days.  The council has taken this action because the city has not had a lot of success placing stray or abandoned Pit Bull dogs with new adoption homes.  This is coupled with added costs of maintaining the dogs at the shelter due to associated difficulties in caring for them during their stay at the Lamar Shelter.  Police Chief Miller explained that because some can be hard to adopt out, their stay in the shelter is twice as long as other dogs.  “We’ve had some that have been confined in the cages for 122 days and one was up to 143 days.  A dog will start to go kennel crazy at some point because they haven’t been exercised that much or had a lengthy contact with other dogs or a human handler.”  Miller added that the ordinance will be phased in over time and will be enforced at first on any problem calls made by Code Enforcement Officers.  “We’re not going to go knocking on people’s doors who own Pit Bulls for this,” he explained.

View of Course and Clubhouse from Memorial Drive

View of Course and Clubhouse from Memorial Drive

The city council, after meeting with members of the Spreading Antlers Golf Club, drafted an addendum and modification to the lease and agreement between the city and the Club.  The draft agreement outlines the conditions under which the city will continue to provide financial support for the Club’s capital asset needs for the next five years.  Historically, the city has provided continued free water for the golf course and various city departments have contributed materials, labor and equipment for on-going improvements at Spreading Antlers.  The new agreement states the City of Lamar will make two, $8,000 payments to Spreading Antlers to be used for upkeep and improvements to the course, attract new members to the Club or pay down capital improvements to the course.  Spreading Antlers will amend its by-laws to provide the City of Lamar one board member with voting privileges to the board of directors.  The board will use professional advice from a consulting firm which will assist in developing long term plans for the success and reputation of the Club and to see new membership, especially among the youth of the community.

Now Vacant Lot at 305 North 8th Street in Lamar

Now Vacant Lot at 305 North 8th Street in Lamar

The city approved a resolution with a local couple on an agreement to waive the city’s liens attached to the real property at 305 North 8th Street in Lamar.  In return, Jesus and Delores Aragorn will pay outstanding property taxes and file for a Treasurer’s Deed through the Prowers County Treasurer and pay $500 to the City for outstanding expenses.  The City will waive $22,999.53 in liens filed for past abatement of weeds, junk and debris and abatement of asbestos.  The property has been abandoned and has sat vacant for the past several years with no maintenance for that period.  City Code Enforcement officials have attempted to contact the absentee owners to have it cleaned and brought up to compliance with city codes with no success.  The work provided for maintenance of the property by city crews is just under $23,000 including interest as well as past liens filed by Prowers County for unpaid taxes.  The Aragorns have stated they will renovate and improve the property in exchange for the city’s waiver of liens.  The house on the property was torn down several years ago and the Aragorns, who have a neighboring lot, will work to improve the appearance of the land and consequently, their surrounding neighborhood.

Property at 305 North 8th Street

Property at 305 North 8th Street

Following a public hearing to adopt a supplemental budget for the City of Lamar for 2015, the council approved a resolution appropriating additional funds to defray expenses in excess of previously budgeted amounts.  An adjustment was made to the Capital Improvement Fund for funds received from the Great Outdoors Colorado Trust Fund, with revenues increasing from $46,017 to $323,891.  Expenditures were also increased to reflect that amount for the cost of improvements to the ball fields at the city’s Sportsplex.

April 27 was set for a public hearing date for a temporary modification of premise application for the Buzzard’s Roost in Lamar.  Each year, owner Jay Gruber hosts two annual music events which require the permit.  The Country Jam is set for June 13-14 and the Road Jam is scheduled for September 19-20.

Lamar businessman, Doug Thrall and K. Bruce Seymore, Executive Director of Colorado Operations for Mile High Racing and Entertainment, addressed the council on a forthcoming business development for the Lamar community involving off track betting on horse and dog racing.  The business will be managed and franchised to Lamar businesswoman, Becky Schwartz, and run from Thrall’s motel, Rodeway Cow Palace Inn.  There is no specific date for when the operation will begin.  A more detailed article on the operation will appear shortly in The Prowers Journal.

By Russ Baldwin

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