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Quick Takes from the Town Council Meeting

Updated: Jul 16, 2023

Watch the whole meeting on Community Media Center!

Even with a lengthy agenda, the Mount Airy Town Council conducted a refreshingly succinct meeting on Monday, July 10, 2023. Key takeaways are below, but CAMO encourages you to watch the meeting at the link above and review the July agenda packet, which contains each of the ordinance documents.

A new Town Administrator has been selected! Heather Smith, a 20+ year employee of the town will replace David Warrington. Congratulations, Heather!

The Council adopted Ordinance 2023-31: Ordinance to amend Town’s water allocation ordinances to update water allocation categories for MXD and to prohibit an allocation category from obtaining excess appropriations due to overlap of allocation categories.

The priority area for water and sewer is designated by the Planning Commission every two years. In 2022, it was designated to properties on the west side of 27, adjacent to Center St., and the Downtown Zone. This ordinance now updates the code to reflect the new MXD and MXU-CC zoning categories and places limitations on obtaining excess water appropriations.

Apparently the town is having a bit of a water emergency. Ordinance 2023-36, an emergency ordinance to add $100,000 to the budget for Well Exploration and Development, was adopted after an interesting discussion. It seems the recent issues with PFAS have forced the town to pump significantly more water from Well #9 than what it is allocated to produce. After doing so for many months, the town may run into a situation where Well #9 exceeds its MDE-approved allocation. The Town Engineer is hopeful that further exploration of this well will yield an additional 50,000 gallons per day of capacity and that MDE will approve the well to pump that additional water. While the town does not have enough recharge area (read: unpaved land) to pump beyond its current allocation, they are hopeful that the 2021 Brinkley Bill (#developerfriendly) will enable them to do so. This is one part of the meeting we strongly encourage you to watch (link below).

Town Council will not consider an Indoor Shooting Range. The proposed range would have been located on industrial property on Back Acre Circle, adjacent to the Goddard School and Twin Arch Crossing Community. Ordinance 2023-33 was on the agenda for introduction and referral to the Planning Commission. Council Member Galletti made a motion to introduce it, but hearing no second, the ordinance did not proceed.

Wellhead Protection is back on the table. Ordinance 2023-34 for Wellhead Protection was introduced and approved to move forward to the Planning Commission for consideration.

The town introduces an increase to water and sewer rates in Ordinance 2023-37. The Water and Sewer Commission recommended the increase due to a water and sewer operating funding shortfall of $274,546 for FY2024.

Two ordinances related to cannabis businesses were introduced. With the state's passage of the Cannabis Reform Bill, the town council is proactively working to codify how to handle cannabis businesses in town limits. Both ordinances were introduced and approved for referral to the Planning Commission. Stay tuned!

Ordinance 2023-35 – For the purpose of prohibiting on site consumption of cannabis at an establishment that sells cannabis in the Town:

  • Adds a new Chapter 50 to Town Code called "Cannabis"

  • Limits the number of dispensary licenses that can be issued at any one time to two (2).

  • Establishes hours of operation, distances the businesses can operate from schools, libraries, etc.

  • Regulates both dispensaries and growing operations

Ordinance 2023-39 – For the purpose of enacting zoning changes with respect to vape shops, cannabis businesses and hemp businesses:

  • Prohibits additional vape shops in the Town and limits dispensaries to the CC district.

  • Requires a cannabis/hemp business to obtain a special exception to operate in the CC district.

  • Establishes hours of operation, distances the businesses can operate from schools, etc.

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