The Windsor Town Council is taking up two hot topics at its next meeting: marijuana and vacation rentals.
They aren’t related, but the town wants to hear from the public on both issues.
The council on Wednesday is poised to reaffirm its longstanding ban on medical marijuana cultivation in residential neighborhoods, although there is some interest in perhaps allowing it in industrial areas.
At a meeting last month, a couple of council members were open to exploring the prospect of commercial cultivation, although Mayor Mark Millan has his qualms.
“I’ve talked to a lot of parents, teachers and principals. They are pretty concerned about any type of cultivation approved by the town,” Millan said Thursday. “I think because we’re known as a family-friendly town, we need to think long and hard about any cultivation.”
He said his primary concern primarily is the impact marijuana-growing may have on children, particularly high school students.
The council is also prepared to uphold its ban on marijuana dispensaries in the town, but allow deliveries from outside Windsor to medical marijuana patients.
The discussion is prompted by California’s passage of laws to regulate cannabis cultivation and distribution. Cities have the ability to establish their own rules ahead of state guidelines, which are still being refined and not in effect until Jan. 1, 2018, when a formal state licensing process is expected to begin.
After Wednesday’s public hearing on the marijuana issue, the council will take up the topic of vacation rentals and consider imposing a bed tax on them, similar to the 14 percent tax on room rentals that hotels have to pay.
Short-term home rentals to tourists have exploded in popularity in many communities, allowing visitors an alternative to hotel stays and extra income for property owners. But the rentals are sometimes vilified for removing available housing stock or eroding neighborhood character and tranquility due to the frequent coming and going of visitors.
In Windsor, there have been virtually no complaints about the short-term rentals, according to the mayor.
Staff members say that most of the website advertisements for vacation rentals in Windsor are for the WorldMark by Wyndham development, which pays a transient occupancy tax.
Windsor staff members identified roughly a dozen other advertised vacation rentals in town, with an average rate of $175 per night, and a three-night minimum stay on the weekend. Currently, the town only requires vacation rental owners to pass a fire-safety inspection before a business license is issued.
Town officials want the council to provide guidance on a number of potential policies, ranging from taxing such rentals to requiring a use permit or perhaps limiting or prohibiting them outright.
You can reach Staff Writer Clark Mason at 521-5214 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter@clarkmas.