Hemp growing moratorium OK’d by Carson City supervisors

The Board of Supervisors on Thursday passed a resolution to place a moratorium on hemp growing in Carson City.

The goal is to temporarily halt any applications for hemp projects while a policy on growing the crop inside city limits is drafted.

The supervisors also approved a new housing project with a private interior road not maintained by the city. Usually, residential streets built by developers are dedicated to the city, but with road maintenance significantly underfunded the supervisors are reconsidering taking ownership of every new street.

Both are topics the supervisors will discuss at greater length at their annual strategic planning workshop Feb. 27.

The hemp issue has gained immediacy with the lawsuit filed against the city by Tahoe Hemp LLC last month. The business wants to grow hemp on the former Buzzy’s Ranch, now open space land, and needs permission from Carson City, which will not give it because hemp growing there could jeopardize the state grant that paid for the property.

A representative from the Nevada Department of Agriculture outlined the process hemp growers go through and how the crop is tested and regulated.

But, several questions remain.

“That’s part of the reason we want the moratorium, because we don’t know the answer to that,” said Lee Plemel, community development director, when Supervisor Brad Bonkowski asked what were the city’s options of regulating hemp without a new policy.

The city used the same process — a temporary moratorium — on both medicinal and recreational marijuana production and retailing when those were legalized as it worked out policies.

The supervisors approved a tentative subdivision map for Emerson Cottages by a vote of 4-1 with Supervisor John Barrette voting no.

The project plan is for 37 single-family houses on 5.5 acres on Emerson Drive, between College Parkway and I-580, next door to the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses.

The map was recommended by the Planning Commission, which included a condition the project’s interior street be a private road maintained to a certain standard by a home owners association.

The developer, John Krmpotic, KLS Planning & Design Group, asked the supervisors that the city accept the dedication of the road after it was built instead.

The request led to a lengthy discussion.

“It’s a conundrum. Here’s an affordable home, but we’re going to hit you with a $300 HOA fee,” if the street is maintained by the homeowners, said Bonkowski. “On the flip side, the city doesn’t have the money to maintain it.”

Supervisor Stacey Giomi agreed and said the city should stay out of it.

“If we’re going to tell them it’s a private road then we can’t tell them how to maintain it,” said Giomi.

The board revised the condition, removing references to how the HOA must maintain it and adding simply that maintenance and plowing is not the city’s responsibility.

The board recessed to meet again at 6 p.m. when it planned to meet jointly with the School Board of Trustees. The agenda includes presentations from the new Carson City Library director, Tod Colegrove, and from Richard Stokes, Carson City School District superintendent, on 1600 Snyder Avenue as a possible school location.


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