Commission temporarily bans medical marijuana in the city

LaBelle City Commissioners passed a motion to reverse the route for The Swamp Cabbage Parade, passed a temporary ban on the distribution of medical marijuana, and discussed actions to address the problems at the Trading Post at the City Commission meeting held on January 11,2018.

Public Hearings, Resolutions, Ordinances, and Citizens Concerns

Rich Harper requested approval to build a fence and gate at his property on 620 E Ft. Thompson Avenue to contain his dogs. The Commission granted his request 5-0.

Alex DeStefano requested for State Road 80 to be closed for the Swamp Stomp 5K Run. The Commission granted the request 5-0.

Ellen Woosley Chairman of The Swamp Cabbage Festival requested for Bridge Street, Main Street, Bronco Drive, Fraser Street, and a portion of Curry Street be closed on February 24 for the Swamp Cabbage Parade. She also requested approval to reverse the direction of the Swamp Cabbage Parade. Reasons for the change in the parades direction included concerns about bystanders getting run over by trailers and children running into the streets as well as pedestrian congestion on the sidewalks and on Bridge Street after the conclusion of the parade.

“Once the end of the parade passes the people at the beginning of the parade route they all walk to Barron Park,” said Woosely, “the people still watching the parade are getting run over by the people coming from the south.”

“If we reverse the direction of the parade route, all the people who want to be in Barron Park will already be there when the parade is over,” said Woosely, “we’ll just have walkers coming up from the south end after the parade ends.”

“If it doesn’t work this year, whoever is in charge next year can change it,” said Woosley.

“We think it is going to work well,” Commissioner Julie Wilkins, “We don’t know until we try it.”

The motion passed 4-1.

Ellen Woosley also requested for Ft Thompson Avenue to be closed on February 20 for Street Fest.

The motion passed 5-0.

First readings were conducted on proposed ordinances 2018-03 Pacific Tomato Growers, LTD Small Scale Comprehensive Plan Amendment, 2018-04 Pacific Tomato Growers, LTD, Planned Unit Development Rezone, and 2018-05 Business and Industrial Property Development Regulations and Public Hearings were set for February 8, 2018 at 6 p.m.

2018-06 to extend a temporary moratorium for acceptance processing for approval of occupational licenses, development orders, or permits related to medical marijuana was read.

City Attorney Derek Rooney recommended for the Commissioners to adopt an Emergency Ordinance that would place a temporary ban on medical marijuana for 364 days and to “take advantage of the current legislation” and place a ban on the distribution of medical marijuana until the city gains more local control.

A motion was made to approve ordinance 2018-06. The motion passed 5-0.

Staff Reports
Fire Chief Josh Rimes reported there were 79 calls in Dec 2017 and stated there were “a lot of wrecks”. He said meetings are being held to lay out a time line for construction on the fire station, annual inspections are being conducted on trucks, and fire hydrants are being painted and greased.

HSO Lieutenant Shawn Reed reported there were two robberies, three assaults, six batteries, three stolen vehicles, 10 thefts, three residential burglaries, one business, four vehicle burglaries, two criminal mischiefs. Calls for District One increased 8 percent. There were 9,566 calls for service, 363 traffic stops, 105 arrests, 426 residential checks, 648 business checks, and 360 security checks.

Lieutenant Reed stated 204 calls were made for the Trading Post in 2017 which is about four calls a week.

“It a little ridiculous,” said Lieutenant Reed, “It is a large cost for the Sherriff’s office.”

“I’ve been on the board three years and we’re talking about the Trading Post,” said Commissioner Julie Wilkins, “Isn’t there something significant that we can do?”

City Attorney Derek Rooney requested permission to jointly petition the Attorney General’s Office for an opinion on what to do with the Trading Post. The motion passed 5-0.

Finance Director Ron Zimmerly told the Commission a party is interested in buying the lot previously designated as a community garden located at 815 Caloosahatchee Avenue.

A motion was made to declare the property surplus and it passed 5-0. A motion was made to advertise the property locally for 30 days and it passed 5-0.

Zimmerly reported a 100-day construction window for the firehouse renovations and renovations to the Civic Center moving forward.

A motion to close Desoto Ave on February 17, from 3 p.m – 9 p.m. for Night on the Town hosted by the Chamber of Commerce passed 5-0.

Megan can be reached at cbnews@newszap.com

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