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A few bullet points from the Jan. 22, 2024, City Council Meeting

–The discussion item that most people in attendance at the Jan. 22 meeting were interested in – the two new Lincoln Highway stores – starts at the 16:46 point of the videotaped meeting.

–The City Attorney began with a briefing/overview of what the council can and cannot do regarding the sale of CBD and similar products. She said Iowa Code allows for the legal sale of these products and all Cities’ hands are tied in regard to regulating these sales.

–The City Attorney said the Council was voting ONLY on approval of alcohol and tobacco licenses during the Jan. 22 meeting. And they could consider the following (from Iowa Code): “When reviewing these applications under Iowa code, a local government may consider the applicant’s financial standing and good reputation and review items such as previous record of paying taxes and fees and any history of disregard for the law.”

Background checks, which are done by our Public Safety Department with every business applying for these licenses, have been done for this applicant, and Police Chief Chris Brandes said there were no issues that would prohibit approval of their licenses. And if the City denied the licenses, the stores would still be able to sell CBD and related products under state law.

–One resident spoke out for the property owners’ rights, saying that the owners of these stores want to sell legal products on a property zoned for those sales.

–The Council listened to the concerns of at least five residents, including a substance abuse counselor who has worked with Nevada students, about the harmful effects of CBD and Kratom, which the owners have indicated the products legal under Iowa law will be sold at these stores. Council members themselves voiced their concerns of having these drugs being sold in the community.

— Store representatives were on hand to listen to concerns. They also had an opportunity to talk about the safety measures they put in place in their store’s checkout system.

–Store representatives were asked about the unsightly gas pumps that are covered with plastic at this time, and they noted anything with regard to the pumps/tanks will be up to the owner to handle. They are leasing the buildings. The City Administrator said he is currently working on a new City ordinance to address these gas tanks, but it is a slow process.

–The Mayor and City Administrator have visited a store owned by the same people in Ames, asked questions about their policies, and visited with mayors of two other communities, and have found no issues that would prohibit the denials of the alcohol/tobacco licenses.

–Councilman Steve Skaggs, who along with other council members said he is not excited about having these stores in the community, encouraged the City Administration to look into the City’s ability to establish an ordinance regulating how many “smoke shops” can be in the City, what type of signage they can have, and where they can and cannot be located.

A few other highlights:

–A resident came before the council asking if they could put in a sidewalk along Sixth Street at Hattery Park and continue that sidewalk south to the railroad track area to make it safer for pedestrians living on the north end of town to get to the Main Street District. The Mayor said her request was welcomed, as City leaders have been looking at “walkability” throughout the community.

–The Mayor gave a “shout out” to all of the City’s street and other workers who helped clear snow during what might have been a “record” week of snow in the community last week. The City Streets Department, some Parks and Recreation Department members, and even workers from the Water Department helped get snow cleared during last week’s storm. We thank them all!

Link to meeting video:

–Written by Marlys Barker, City of Nevada

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