Catalina Island
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December 17, 2017 - 9:51pm

Articles by Charles M. Kelly

The city of Avalon will reveal a plaque to honor the memory of a harbor patrol officer who died in the line of duty in 2014 at a ceremony scheduled to be held at 2 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 7, at at Step Beach.

Tim Mitchell served as a member of the city of Avalon Fire Reserves and as a Harbor Patrol officer. Mitchell lost his life on Tuesday, Dec. 30, 2014, defending a boat that was ultimately destroyed by high seas caused by a nor’easter storm. Winds reached approximately 40 mph during the storm. At least six yachts were reportedly destroyed in Avalon Bay.  

Imagine you were once a high school quarterback. That’s great. But high school is over. Now what are you going to do with the rest of your life?

That’s one of the issues facing veterans after their military careers end, according to Sgt. 1st Class Jen Dreizehn, U.S. Army (retired), founder of the Fit4Valor ministry on Catalina Island.

Fit4Valor is, for now, a faith-based program of Avalon’s Singing Waters Christian Center. It’s focus: helping veterans work out what to do with the rest of their lives.

Water and housing are the two top priorities of the Avalon City Council.

City officials and the Santa Catalina Island Company are currently in talks to develop a non-binding agreement to develop workforce housing in Avalon. According to City Manager David Jinkens, the “memorandum of understanding” would build the framework for creating a formal agreement that would take another six months to complete.

The Avalon City Council directed the Planning and Fire departments to develop an inspection program for residential rental properties The council also discussed a moratorium on issuing conditional use permits for vacation rentals. But instead of voting on the porposal, the council told staff to look at developing a licensing program for vacation rentals instead. The city attorney’s office, in the meantime, will look at whether it would be legal to allow CUPs to expire after a certain number of years.

The City Council introduced two new laws this week that will regulate marijuana use in Avalon. The council voted unanimously to approve a new law that will allow mobile distribution of medical marijuana on the Island, said to City Attorney Scott Campbell. For now, the city will allow just one dispensary service to operate in Avalon. That business will be selected at another time, said Campbell. The council voted 4-1 to allow personal cultivation of marijuana indoors and outdoors. Councilman Oley Olsen cast the dissenting vote because he opposed outdoor cultivation.

This week, the City Council directed Avalon staff to bring back an ordinance regulating marijuana use at the next council meeting. The decision concluded a roughly two-hour discussion of a draft of a possible city cannabis law.  

According to Mayor Anni Marshall, the new law will:

• Allow delivery of medical marijuana to homes and to hotels. Business hours will be limited to 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

At the end of a nearly two-hour discussion, the Avalon City Council directed staff to bring back a draft ordinance to regulate marijuana at the end of Monday’s study session on the issue.

Now that voters have legalized adult recreational marijuana use California cities have until January to decide whether to allow marijuana and, if so, how to regulate it locally. Monday was the council’s second study session on the subject.

The Avalon City Council looked at a proposed lease for a restaurant at the end of the new Casino fuel dock, but instead directed staff to request proposals for the project.

The proposed lease’s provision for a 50-year lease appeared to be too long for some council members.  

In other news, the commander of the Avalon Station said Internal Affairs Bureau investigators would come to the Island next week to investigate the recent fatal shooting of a bison by a Los Angeles Sheriff’s Deputy.

The Internal Affairs Bureau of the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department is investigating the recent shooting of a bison by an Avalon Station deputy. The bison reportedly charged at the deputy. The animal was euthanized. The Sheriff’s Internal Affairs Bureau  is headquartered on the mainland.

According to Capt. John Hocking, commander of the Avalon Station, no one from the Avalon Station will be conducting the investigation.

Capt. Hocking issued the following statement about the shooting:

The Catalina Island Company has pledged a new source of groundwater for a planned workforce housing project at Las Casitas, according to Avalon City Manager David Jinkens. Remaining water would go for use in the city.

“This is good news,” Jinkens said. “It’s not anything final.”

Jinkens gave the Avalon City Council an update on continuing discussions about building affordable workforce housing at Las Casitas and Upper Tremont.