City of Enid

ENID, Okla. — Enid city commissioners approved a new fee for local medical marijuana businesses during a regular meeting Tuesday evening.

Per Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority rules, marijuana businesses must undergo inspections conducted by the municipality they operate in if they wish to retain their licensing.

As of Tuesday night, such businesses in Enid will be required to pay a $150 fee for the required inspections.

Several measures advancing the Kaw Lake water pipeline project also were approved, including more than a dozen easements, and a $205,414 expense for "geotechnical services and quality assurance and quality control," which will be performed by Envirotech Engineering, of Enid.

Cleveland Prairie, an upcoming housing development near the intersection of Cleveland and Purdue, is a step further in the construction process. The commission OK'd an Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality permit allowing the developer, STK Homes, to build waterlines for the future neighborhood.

Contractors were approved for a pair of renovation efforts with price tags more than $200,000.

A $230,000 contract was given to a Tulsa-based engineering firm to complete a design process for the widening of Garland Road, from north of Garriott to the Randolph intersection.

Another $212,800 has been set aside for an Oklahoma City engineering company, to "provide for the design of the mill and overlay on Randolph Avenue, from Washington to 7th Street. The scope of the project will include the relocation of water lines, an analysis of the drainage system, upgrading corner nodes and signals to ADA standards."

During a 5 p.m. study session, commissioners worked on ongoing lease negotiations with Enid nonprofit Bennie's Barn.

The equine therapy center for special needs children and adults operates on 160 acres owned by the city, and purchased for $600,000. Bennie's Barn has approached the city about buying at least 20 of those acres, and negotiating lease terms for the other 140.

According to the city, the nonprofit feels it would help fundraising efforts if it owned some of the property.

In the city's proposal outlined Tuesday, a 50-year lease was suggested. A long-term lease could help Bennie's Barn with its donor concerns, similarly to purchasing the 20 acre portion it has considered, but without the city having to permanently cede any of the 160-acre space.

Several commissioners expressed discomfort with a lease of that length, and talks shifted to a 15- to 20-year lease instead.

Bennie's Barn also is looking to tear down an old house on the acreage and replace it with a new, climate-controlled facility to expand its therapy operation.

Commissioners discussed handling the demolition and footing the bill for it. Some also suggested the city stop covering for the operation's utilities, as it does currently.

No deal is set in stone, and there will be more talks to come between the city and Bennie's Barn.

"Now is an opportunity to come up with whatever is acceptable and agreeable," City Manager Jerald Gilbert said. "I think we all want to help them into a situation where they can get the donors and keep running the organization successfully but also cover the cost of the facility and utilities and whatever else."

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Willetts is education and city reporter for the Enid News & Eagle.
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