Commission Concludes Discussion on Marijuana Provisioning Center
MERIDIAN TOWNSHIP - Yesterday, the Meridian Township Planning Commission discussed a special use permit submitted by Green Peak Innovations.
Green Peak Innovations wants to construct a 2,700 square foot medical marijuana provisioning center on an undeveloped parcel. The parcel is 1.79 acres and is located on the east side of Northwind Drive. It is just south of Grand River Avenue.
The subject was first brought to the Commission’s attention on June 22, 2020, where a straw poll indicated that the Commission would consider recommending approval to the Board.
Many concerns have been brought before the Commission over this issue. One concern was over the presence of a Catholic church nearby. The non-zoning medical marijuana ordinance adopted by the Township Board states that all commercial medical marijuana facilities have to be at least 500 feet away from any church, religious facility, or place of worship. It was discovered that the facility will be far enough away to meet this requirement.
Another concern was that the Play facility would be too close to the new marijuana facility. The ordinance does require medical marijuana facilities to be 500 feet away from all childcare centers, preschools, and libraries. However, since Play is unlicensed as a childcare facility, the marijuana facility would still be permitted to build in the area.
A nearby cosmetology school was concerned that they would be denied their request to start high school programs if the new facility should be built. This fear again stems from the ordinance prohibiting medical marijuana facilities from being located 1,000 feet from any public or private K-12 school. However, since the school itself is not classified as a K-12 school, the marijuana facility should not impact their request to start high school programs.
Many other concerns were raised, but Economic Development Director, Ken Lane, commented that there may not be any reason for their fears.
“I believe the application, as proposed, meets the requirements for a medical marijuana provisioning center under the zoning ordinance,” he said. “The applicant has presented that this is going to be no different than any other retail establishment, it’s going to be a nice esthetically looking building, and I would add that the Township’s non-zoning medical marijuana ordinance has safeguards in it to address a lot of the concerns that people have raised.”
Joe Neller, the co-founder of Green Peak Innovations, called in to address the concerns people had. He talked about how they would never sell to minors or allow people to consume their product on site. He mentioned that their signage does not indicate the type of business they run. He also talked about how if any of the concerns came to be true, they would lose their license rather quickly.
Commission Chair, Scott Hendrickson, also spoke about how the Commission worked with the applicant to address the concerns of other businesses nearby.
“What we’ve done as Planning Commission is talk to the applicants about what measures they have in place to mitigate some of the factors that the neighboring occupants are concerned about,” he said “Specifically, we talked about security, we’ve talked about odor control, we’ve talked about making sure that the supply chain is such that the product is kept under lock and key.”
After addressing these concerns, the Commission voted to recommend that the Board approve of Green Peak Innovations request. This topic will now be sent to the Township Board for final discussion.