Feb 23, 2010 9:28 PM by Andy Koen, Bea Karnes - News First 5
Colorado Springs City Council knows how to draw a crowd. With two contentious issues on the agenda--medical marijuana and homeless camps--the start of Tuesday's formal council meeting had to be delayed so that the fire marshall could thin the standing room only crowd.
Council voted to ban camping on public lands, effectively forcing out the thousands of homeless who live along Fountain Creek.
They are also considering a resolution to vigorously enforce a 1,000 foot zoning restriction on medical marijuana dispensaries from operating near schools.
The camping ban passed 8-1 with councilman Tom Gallagher casting the sole vote against the ban.
The law makes it illegal to sleep, to set up a tent or campsite or to store personal belongings on public lands.
Council also adopted an interpreted version of Ballot Issue 300 into the city code. On a 6-3 vote, the measure to phase out all enterprise payments to the city by 2018 was made law.
Douglas Bruce, who wrote the ballot initiative, objected to the city's interpretation arguing that the initiative should have been adopted verbatim to the city code.
However, Mayor Lionel Rivera countered that the adopting the issue verbatim would create a legal conflict with the city charter because of disparities between the first and second sentence of the measure.
Previous attempts to adopt the ballot iniative into law were postponed to allow Bruce and others to have input on the city's interpretation.
Also, the Front Range Express commuter bus system will continue for at least for the next year.
Council voted to use the $1.44 million it received from the sale of nine of the FREX buses to fund the city's share of the operating expenses for the next year.
Transportation planners are searching for more permanent funding solution.