New marijuana ordinance will lower 1st offense penalty to ticket with $125 fine —
The Fayetteville City Council on Aug. 20 will conduct a public hearing and first reading on a new marijuana ordinance. While possessing an ounce or less will still be unlawful, violations will start at $125 and will not require jail time.
“Our goal is to reduce the amount of people that are incarcerated for possessing one ounce or less of marijuana, thus reducing the stigma of having this type of conviction on an individual’s record. This is one of the agenda items we discussed at the council retreat this year as a goal and objective for the city and the police department,” Chief Scott Gray said in an Aug. 4 letter.
The ordinance calls for a $125 fine and no court date for a first offense, a $250 fine for a second offense within one year and a $500 fine for a third offense with a one-year period.
The ordinance notes that $150 on the second and third offenses can be refunded upon successful completion of a substance abuse program or class. Beyond that, additional offenses call for a $500 fine for which no refund is provided.
The same fine amounts hold true for minors under age 18, though a court date with a parent or legal guardian present is required.
In all cases, there will be no jail time served.
As for the current fine amounts, a first offense fine is $1,093 and the second offense is $1,343. There is no current third offense fine amount.
The second public hearing and potential adoption will be on Sept. 3.
The council on Aug. 20 will also conduct a second public hearing on the Satterfield townhome development on Ga. Highway 85 North and consider a letter of support to the Ga. Department of Transportation (DOT) to install RCUT (Reduced Conflict U-Turn) improvements at two intersections on Ga. Highway 54 East.
The council will conduct a second public hearing and potential vote on the Satterfield townhome development on Hwy. 85 North
The 21.48-acre townhome property is located at the rear of the 14.34-acre Satterfield Marketplace retail center fronting Hwy. 85 North now under development. Both developments were rezoned for commercial and townhome use in 2018.
Pertaining to the development, one of the requests would have the number of townhomes approved by the City Council reduced from 68 to 55.
Another request asks that two of the 55 townhomes, both located on the north side of the property, not have rear-entry garages due to site constraints. The two with front-facing garages would be outfitted with carriage-style or ornamental garage doors.
A third request asks that internal streets, sidewalks and alleys in the townhome development, and access to the adjoining retail center, be private rather than public, with the homeowners’ association responsible exercising ownership and maintenance
On another agenda item, a recent recommendation from DOT called for RCUTS to be installed along Hwy. 54 East at Autumn Glen Circle/Rosewood Drive, Cobblestone Boulevard/Weatherly Drive and at Knight Way.
The cost of each RCUT is projected at $80,000, with the installations coming once funds are available, DOT said. It was noted that DOT will fund the entire cost of the intersection improvements.
Approval by the council in the form of a letter of support will pave the way for DOT to proceed with the engineering design phase of the project.