Monroe Charter Township’s latest attempt to pass an ordinance regulating the cannabis business within its boundaries would largely limit future businesses to the LaPlaisance Road corridor.
His new proposal would accomplish two things, according to Catherine Kaufman, a lawyer who has been appointed to serve as the township’s special advisor on the marijuana ordinance.
Revisions to the township zoning code would create withdrawal requirements that would prevent much of the township property from being the site of a potential marijuana business.
A police order would then codify what an acceptable cannabis business is.
“(My company) was hired to help (the township) revamp the ordinance after it was previously found to have been passed inappropriately,” Kaufman said. “We (advised) a two-pronged approach: an ordinance (of policy) and a zoning. “
The township has hired Bauckham, Sparks, Thall, Seeber & Kaufman, a Portage-based law firm in which Kaufman is a partner. Over the past month, the cabinet has assisted the township on the ordinance.
Over the past year, the township has grappled with controversial town halls, conflicting views on cannabis and the overturning of a previous ordinance as it sought to regulate the nascent industry.
This week, the township held two special meetings. On Wednesday evening, the township planning commission reviewed and recommended proposed changes to the township zoning code.
Thursday evening, the city council waived the first reading of these amendments. A second reading will take place on August 31 at another special meeting.
At that same meeting, the board will then consider an ordinance outlining the regulations from a policy perspective, which would define acceptable uses and types of businesses.
In addition to regulating recreational marijuana establishments, the latest proposal would opt for the township in the medical cannabis industry, paving the way for medical dispensaries.
The new ordinances would not place a cap on the number of cannabis businesses in the township, although this is a frequent request made by some citizens and community leaders.
Kaufman said the township is not introducing a cap because it opens up the township to liability.
A merit system should be created that favors some potential businesses over others. Kaufman said that while the prospect of unlimited installations may cause concern, it mitigates potential lawsuits.
“(Limits) are the most controversial components of recreational marijuana,” she said. “… When you limit the numbers and pick winners and losers, it opens the door to litigation. “
By revising setback requirements and zoning conditions, the township can create a system designed to limit the location of future businesses, Kaufman added.
Under the revised order, withdrawal requirements would be measured on a lot line to lot line basis. There would be a 500-foot automatic buffer zone between businesses and single-family residential neighborhoods in the township and multi-family residential and pre-fabricated housing parks, or mixed neighborhoods.
Marijuana businesses in light industrial, agricultural, or certain business districts (C2) would be prohibited if they are within 500 feet of two residential homes. Setbacks of 250 feet from existing daycares and 500 feet from public and private elementary and secondary schools would also apply.
Businesses would also be unable to locate on parcels within 2,000 feet of the boundaries of another municipality.
Earlier this year, the town of Monroe expressed its displeasure that a marijuana business approved under the struck down ordinance is on a boundary shared with the township.
In addition to the city, MCT shares borders with the townships of LaSalle, Frenchtown and Raisinville.
The district’s zoning requirements would not be enacted in the LaPlaisance Road corridor, according to the ordinance.
According to the ordinance, the six companies that were approved by the Planning Commission before the invalidation of the previous ordinance will continue to move forward.
Companies found to be non-compliant, which concern four of the six properties, will be sanctioned in the new system as having special conditions.
If any of these businesses were to go out of business for a period of 180 days or more, any further use of the property would be subject to the rules set out in the proposed new ordinance.
Eight companies that submitted applications but whose consideration by the Planning Commission was delayed due to a moratorium on the treatment of marijuana companies could also face penalties under the new system. Six of the eight sites would be considered non-compliant. A stipulation in the new ordinance would allow them to benefit from a situation similar to that of the six previously approved companies, if they are approved by the Planning Commission.
Kim Fortner, zoning enforcement officer for the township, said the clause is meant to give businesses a chance to be heard after months of delay.
“… We tried to address any concerns from residents who were (worried) about the facilities attached to their properties,” Fortner said. “… The eight (demands) are already on the agenda by the time the moratorium came into effect. They deserve a chance to be heard.
One of these companies filed a complaint against the township.
On August 5, JARS Holdings LLC, which owns multiple cannabis businesses statewide, named Monroe Charter Township as a defendant in a civil case filed in the 38th Monroe County Circuit Court.
JARS Holdings LLC is a company seeking to establish a marijuana business in the township. It was scheduled for a special land use and site plan approval hearing before the Planning Commission on October 22.
But a moratorium decreed by the council delayed these procedures. Its intended site is located at 15519 South Telegraph Rd.
During Thursday’s special meeting, Kaufman said the new ordinance may address some of the concerns of those eight companies.
She also said the township’s latest proposal would give her the ability to more strictly regulate businesses. And these companies have a vested interest, she said, adding that violations of the township ordinance or zoning law may result in their closure and the action of the Marijuana Regulatory Agency of the United States. ‘State.
“Once (a business) gets a license, it’s going to deal with (the residents) and the township,” Kaufman said. “It only takes one call to the MRA to get someone here.
Supervisor Alan Barron said the township has the capacity to meet increased regulatory obligations.
“We plan to be vigorous on this regulation,” he added.
For draft ordinances or to view a map detailing zoning districts, visit www.monroechartertownship.org/ordinances.