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February 5, 2013
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New Castle council tackling recreational pot issues

NEW CASTLE, Colorado - The Town Council will tackle a diverse agenda tonight, from a moratorium on the sale or public use of marijuana to the question of how best to maintain a "haul route" for oil and gas industry traffic on the south side of the Colorado River.

First on the agenda will be a joint meeting with the Garfield Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) that starts at 6 p.m. in the Community Center, 423 W. Main St., which is where the haul-route question will be discussed, according to Town Administrator Tom Baker.

At issue, Baker said, is the use of Garfield County Road 335 (Colorado River Road), which is considered to be largely the town's responsibility but which lies primarily in the county's jurisdiction.

The town's goal, Baker continued, is to set up an agreement with the county about ownership and maintenance of the road.

He noted that the road sees a considerable amount of industry traffic between gas drilling facilities up Divide and Alkalai creeks.

Large trucks and other vehicles use CR 335 to get from their drilling pads and other facilities to I-70, using the bridge that serves the New Castle exit on the interstate.

"We've been maintaining it," Baker said of the road, "but we haven't really invested any capital toward resurfacing or repairing it."

He said the council has talked about seeking a cost-sharing agreement on the resurfacing and repair projects, after which the town could take over maintenance tasks.

He acknowledged that the town is wondering whether CR 335 would become a major haul route for industry traffic from the Thompson Divide area, closer to Carbondale.

The county commissioners announced last year that they did not favor use of Four Mile Road for a haul route, and that a route over the divide and down Divide Creek might be more suitable.

Four Mile Road leads from Glenwood Springs up into the area surrounding Sunlight Mountain Resort, Four Mile Park and other sections that are being eyed for gas drilling projects by several energy companies.

"We've been looking at that," Baker said of the Divide Creek haul-route option, "but no one has actually said how they're going to handle that question."

The council's regular meeting in Town Hall, 450 W. Main St., will begin at 8 p.m., and the chief topic will be the moratorium on all land use applications for businesses involved in the growth, sale and use of marijuana.

The marijuana moratorium question is in direct response to last year's passage of Amendment 64, which declared it legal for Colorado residents over 21 years of age to grow and smoke pot recreationally.

The proposed moratorium will get its second reading tonight, as part of a public hearing to determine citizen feelings about the proposed law.

This is the second time the council has found itself dealing with a marijuana-related question in less than three years.

The first was imposition of a prohibition against medical marijuana businesses in 2011, in response to statewide voter approval in 2000 of medical marijuana, which requires a doctor's prescription.

The town's prohibition against medical marijuana remains in effect.

jcolson@postindependent.com


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The Post Independent Updated Feb 5, 2013 01:49AM Published Feb 5, 2013 01:47AM Copyright 2013 The Post Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.