The Meridian Township Planning Commission recommended at the March 25 Township Board meeting to limit the districts and permits for medical marijuana facilities.
Planning and Development Principal Planner Peter Menser presented a draft of the Code of Ordinance from the Township Board of Directors for the Planning Commission.
Menser said the Planning Commission is looking at the types of facilities, which zoning district they can locate in and the process by which these things are approved.
The Planning Commission must review each permit application and present its recommendations and reasoning to the Township Board. The board has the final approval of these permits.
Menser additionally presented previously discussed facility types, number of permits to be allowed and the zoning districts and overlay areas.
“The goal tonight is to consider a resolution with draft ordinance language acceptable to the Planning Commission that can be given to the Township Board,” Menser said. “We can recommend approval, recommend approval with modifications or recommend denial to the Township Board.”
Planning Commission Chair John Scott-Craig said the commission should consider the following proposed zoning amendment changes in three pieces. The commission decided on the use of a special use permit requirement and how many overlay districts to have and where. They also reviewed the zoning districts within each overlay area to determine what types of business activities can be conducted and how many permits of each type will be allowed.
The Planning Commissioners unanimously approved the SUP process by which the Township Board of Directors makes the final decision in approving all medical marijuana permits.
In discussing which types of facilities to allow within the Township in each of the zoning areas, the Planning Commission discussed the five facility types and the total number of permits to be allowed in each overlay district.
Secretary David Premoe said he would like to limit the total number of permits allowed, and recommended a way to achieve this would be to reduce the total number of overlay districts from six down to two.
After a lengthy debate, a verbal straw poll was conducted and the Planning Commission voted four to two to reduce the number of overlay districts from six down to four by eliminating previously proposed overlay areas number two and number six.
Regarding the number of permits allowed in each of the overlay areas, Scott-Craig said, “I recommend we should start small.”
Scott-Craig said growers and processors should be limited to one or two in Meridian Township, as opposed to three.
“This is the tricky one,” said Scott-Craig, in regards to the number of provisioning centers the township should have. Scott-Craig said the town should allow two of these facilities, four less than originally suggested, because of permit applications under review in nearby towns including Lansing and East Lansing.
The Planning Commission as a whole decided safety compliance facilities should not be located within a commercial zoning area. They limited the number of permits down to one, similarly with secure transporters.
Menser is set to present the revised, proposed ordinance to the Township Board at their next meeting on April 9.