Just about a half dozen residents joined in a special Escalon City Council workshop on Tuesday, Feb. 21, focusing on Prop. 64.
The marijuana legalization proposition that was passed in the November 2016 election has prompted many cities, Escalon among them, to enact local restrictions and the workshop was designed to provide some information. Police Chief Mike Borges provided the overview of the proposition and some of the avenues available to the city. Public input was also sought, said City Manager tammy Alcantor.
“We laid out some of the issues the council needs to consider, such as whether we want to allow retail sales, commercial cultivation and delivery, whether we want to limit outdoor personal growth and put restrictions on indoor growth,” Alcantor explained.
Borges has also been attending informational sessions with other police chiefs from around the region regarding the proposition and its implications for communities.
The 45-minute workshop was hosted prior to the council’s regular meeting, which was held on Tuesday night instead of the usual Monday due to the Presidents’ Day observance on Feb. 20.
“There were no decisions made, but we agreed we will be having future workshops,” said Alcantor.
Meanwhile, a main item of business at the regular council meeting was a presentation from the FAA, Federal Aviation Administration, regarding increased traffic at the Stockton Airport and a corresponding rise in the number of planes with flight paths over the city.
Specifically, it is the low flying planes making their final approach to Stockton that have the council concerned, with many on a path directly over the community.
Representatives from the airport were in attendance at the session as well and said there are expansion plans in the works for the facility, with hopes of adding an additional commercial airline and perhaps eventually expanding for international travel.
Stockton Airport officials indicated their willingness to discuss the issues with any concerned residents and there is a website, flystockton.com, that provides a way for residents to connect; they can file a noise management complaint or make contact via phone.
Currently, there is a noise abatement procedure in place from 9 p.m. until 8 a.m.; the city has gone to the FAA seeking that it be a 24-hour abatement. That, ideally, would send the planes on a route farther outside the city but Alcantor said the change, if approved by the FAA, could take up to 18 months to implement.
“We are remaining vigilant about it,” she said. “The end of last week and on Monday, I got quite a few notices about the (low-flying) planes and I hadn’t gotten that many in a while.”
Alcantor said she did put a call in Monday to the airport to see if there was a reason for the apparent increase, but had not received a response as of presstime on Tuesday. She said when the city receives a complaint about the planes, they also enter it on the flystockton.com website.
In other business, the council approved the mid-year budget revision, which shows a smaller year-end deficit than originally projected, due to an increase in sales tax. The council also, following a Public Hearing, approved the vacate designation for Prospect Street (between First Street and Roosevelt Avenue) and requested city staff to work with neighboring property owners and develop some ideas regarding future use for the property.