Council addresses livestock issues

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— In addition to an at-times heated discussion about medical marijuana, the Craig City Council also made some progress Tuesday on its ongoing issue with livestock inside city limits.

City zoning regulations do not allow residents to have livestock - which includes everything from horses to chickens but not llamas - in residential, commercial or industrial zones.

Still, that hasn't stopped some people, though they may have legal justification for keeping the animals.

Craig Police Chief Walt Vanatta said his staff knows about 17 residents who keep livestock inside the city, though he expects there probably are more.

The council decided to check the case of each resident already identified and make a decision about whether the livestock can be kept on a case-by-case basis.

Councilors said those who have owned property since before it was annexed and have had livestock there should probably be allowed to keep their animals.

However, if the property has changed hands or livestock were not there when the property was annexed, then all livestock probably should be removed.

The council made no definite decision how to proceed, other than to weigh each case on its own merit.

City officials first began discussing residents with livestock inside the city - such as horses and chickens - when resident Lex Burton approached the council at its meeting Aug. 11 to discuss an issue with his horses.

Burton said he has kept horses at his home at the north end of Colorado Street since before the city annexed his property. He also said he made a verbal agreement with city officials at the time that he could keep horses there as long as he was alive.

However, Burton said he received a Police Department notice that he must remove the horses or face possible fines.

The council stayed delivery of Burton's ticket two weeks ago until it could further consider the issue at Tuesday's meeting.

The city also asked residents who live on East Victory Way to attend the next Craig Planning and Zoning meeting at 6 p.m. Sept. 21 at Craig City Hall, 221 W. Fourth St.

A woman who lives in the area said nearly every home there has livestock and that she has had animals for decades.

She asked for the area to be re-zoned agricultural.

Marijuana supporters, opponents won't sue

A shouting match broke out during Tuesday's meeting between supporters and opponents of Craig's first medical marijuana dispensary, the Craig Apothecary, which opened Saturday at 611 Breeze St.

In the end, two parties threatened to sue each other for slander, though both said Wednesday that they no longer had any interest in going to court.

Jessica Asplund, the girlfriend of dispensary co-owner Shaun Hadley, threatened a civil suit for slander against resident Patrick Germond after he hinted Hadley opened his business because he couldn't pass a drug test.

Hadley said he was laid off from his job as an electrician because there wasn't enough work in the current economy and that his boss knew he was a medical marijuana patient.

After the meeting, Germond wrote in an e-mail that he might countersue Hadley's father for calling him dumb.

However, Germond and Hadley both said Wednesday they have no interest in lawsuits.

"It's frivolous, childish and intimidating to sue people just because they have a different opinion than you," Germond said. "I don't want it to be about me. I don't want it to be about them. It's about the issue of dispensaries."

He added he wants Hadley's dispensary shut down but that it's up to the city and local voters.

Hadley said he wasn't worried about what happened at the council meeting, and, if anything, Germond's statement proved his point that the opposition doesn't have any real facts behind their cause.

"There was no injury to me or anybody," he said. "It was absolutely immature, and that's it."

Hadley added he served two "older" registered marijuana patients Wednesday at his business.

"I was able to provide them with the help they needed, and I felt great about that," he said.

The council voted, 6-0, to pass an emergency moratorium for 60 days on all dispensaries, though the ordinance will have no effect on the Craig Apothecary because it opened before the meeting.

City officials said it will give them time to consider special zoning regulations for dispensaries before any others open.

City Manager Jim Ferree said he hopes to have a draft ready by the council's next meeting Sept. 8.

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