Evart adopts amendment to marijuana ordinance

Businesses limited to industrial district only

During a previous meeting of the Evart city council, an amendment to the city's ordinance regulating marijuana businesses restricted the establishment of such businesses to the industrial district.

During a previous meeting of the Evart city council, an amendment to the city's ordinance regulating marijuana businesses restricted the establishment of such businesses to the industrial district.

Pioneer file photo

EVART —– Evart city councilmembers recently adopted an amendment to the city's zoning ordinance and code of ordinances regulating the establishment of marijuana facilities.

The amendment limits all marijuana businesses, including provisioning centers or retail stores, to the I-2 general industrial district, removing the C-2, general commercial district from the ordinance.

According to the information provided to council, the amendments will not affect existing marijuana businesses located in the C-2 district.

“Marijuana facilities regulated by this article shall include both facilities for medical marijuana activities and recreational adult use,” the ordinance states.

The city ordinance allows for the establishment of safety compliance facilities, growing and processing facilities, secured transport facilities, and provisioning centers.

According to the ordinance, all other marijuana businesses, including microbusinesses, temporary marijuana events and designated consumption establishments, whether licensed by the state or not, are prohibited.

The Evart planning commission held a public hearing on the proposed amendments on Dec. 27, 2021. No public comments were made, and the planning commission voted unanimously to recommend the changes to the council.

COUNCIL APPROVES DPW DIRECTOR CONTRACT

In other business, the council approved an employment contract with Dustin Moma as director of the department of public works.

City manager Pepper Lockhart told the council Moma had completed his six-month probationary period, and recommended approving his contract.

Moma was appointed to the position of public works director by council in May 2021. He has since obtained his airport license and has been appointed as airport manager.

The 5-year employment contract is effective Jan. 3, 2022 and will continue through Jan. 2, 2027, at a starting salary of $72,500.

CLEARING BRUSH FROM AIRPORT

The council also accepted a bid for the removal of brush from the end of the airport runway.

Moma reminded council that the brush issue must be resolved by June 1, or the city will begin incurring substantial fines.  

Some of the area involved is a wetland and can only be worked when frozen, which narrows the window of opportunity considerably, he told the council.

Lockhart told council that, although the project would typically be bid out with a Request for Proposals (RFP), city attorney James White had confirmed that the City Purchasing Policy gives council the ability to waive that requirement since the project must be completed in such a short time frame. 

Four bids were presented to council. 

An estimate from RCB Contracting Services in the amount of $58,000 for the brush removal was accepted.

LAND SALES IN INDUSTRIAL PARK

Discussion on the sale of property in the Evart industrial park was postponed to give council members more time to consider offers, and those making offers on the property more time to get the appropriate paperwork filed.

According to the meeting minutes provided by city clerk Kathy Fiebig, McClellan Integrated Services, who currently leases a building in the industrial park, has made an offer to purchase a lot and is waiting on the results of a building inspection and a Phase 1 environmental study before presenting a bid for the property.  

During the meeting, Fiebig presented an additional offer for the purchase of part of Lots 6, 7 and 8 for an outdoor marijuana grow facility. 

White noted that the purchase agreement is for just the southernmost portions of those lots as defined by the legal description and refers to it as “Lot 9.”

“Calling it Lot 9 would require replatting the entire park,” he said. 

Council member Matt Hildebrand said he would prefer to have the lot split reviewed by the Planning Commission and a recommendation from them before moving forward.

Planninc commission member Jason O’Dell told the council there is a joint meeting of representatives from city council, boards, commissions, and stakeholders on Jan. 19, during which the possible division of Lots 6, 7 and 8 should be discussed with additional community input.

“I would like to see further discussion on the issue before any decisions are made,” he said.

United We Stand, LLC, submitted a proposal to purchase two lots in the industrial park for the purpose of establishing a research and development facility to develop products made from hemp back in November.

Originally intending to purchase several lots, they were offered a counter proposal by the city to purchase two lots with an option to purchase additional lots at some future date as needed.

Mayor Chris Emerick said they are still waiting on additional financial information from the partners before approving that purchase agreement.