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Council considers medical marijuana dispensary moratorium

Planning Commission researching buffer zones
 Posted: 2:00 AM March 31, 2014

The Ashland City Council will consider whether to establish a moratorium on medical marijuana dispensaries, while city officials work out potential new restrictions on their operation.

The council will meet at 7 p.m. on Tuesday in the Ashland Civic Center Council Chambers, 1175 E. Main St.

Earlier this year, the Oregon Legislature granted local jurisdictions the authority to enact moratoriums by May 1. The moratoriums can stretch until May 1, 2015.

The Ashland council has tasked the Ashland Planning Commission with researching potential new restrictions that could be adopted in town — such as buffer zones between dispensaries and residential zones, and a ban on dispensaries in the downtown business zone.

The state has received at least six applications for dispensaries in Ashland.

One is already in operation inside Puff's Smoke Shop on Ashland Street.

With a packed agenda Tuesday night, councilors will also hear an update on city efforts to crack down on homeowners who are illegally renting their homes out to tourists for short stays.

The Downtown Beautification and Improvement Ad Hoc Committee will make recommendations for enhancing Ashland, including installing welcome signs, improving city parking lot landscaping and planting trees along Lithia Way.

Some opponents of a downtown Plaza reconstruction project that wrapped up in 2013 have lobbied for downtown improvement dollars to be spent on removing the Plaza's new gray pavers and replacing them with colored pavers.

Councilors will decide whether to direct the Ashland Housing and Human Services Commission to study the issue of housing discrimination against students. Students could potentially be added as a protected class to the city's fair housing ordinance.

Southern Oregon University students have said students are routinely denied the chance to rent in Ashland.

For a detailed list of agenda items, see goo.gl/bq1pIV.

Staff reporter Vickie Aldous can be reached at 541-776-4486 or valdous@mailtribune.com. Follow her at www.twitter.com/VickieAldous.


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