Thursday, November 18, 2021

Rezoning of marijuana growing sites is proposed

Sumpter Township may soon restrict marijuana growers to industrial-zoned property, rather than allowing caregivers to utilize their primary residences to produce the plants.

Trustee Matt Oddy first brought the issue to the attention of the board of trustees during a regular meeting, explaining that there have been changes and challenges to the current state law and that this effort could be superceded by changes under discussion in the state Legislature. Nevertheless, Oddy said, he felt the township should impose restrictions moving the growing of the plants to an industrially zoned area. 

Oddy again presented the issue at the Nov.  4 meeting of the Sumpter Township Planning Commission, where he serves as the board liaison. The proposed amendment to the zoning ordinance would  “establish, regulate, and specifically define the permitted locations for registered Primary CareGiver Operations being conducted under the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act of 2008 within Sumpter Township.”

He said a portion of this ordinance was previously repealed by the board because there had been lawsuits challenging the regulation and the Michigan Township Association had recommended the repeal of that section of the ordinance.  However, he told the commissioners, there have recently been positive court cases that encouraged reinstatement of the zoning ordinances which give local municipalities the authority to control where caregivers can grow marijuana.  A public hearing on the change would be required, Oddy said, to have the restriction adopted. He said that he had looked at the ordinances of several other communities and each is putting the growing of marijuana in industrial-zones areas. 

Township attorney Rob Young thanked Oddy for explaining the item and said the proposed change was referred to the planning commission by the township board. Young said this change would give the township, like other municipalities, more control over where marijuana is grown.

Young will prepare some new versions of the ordinance, Oddy said, and notices of a public hearing on the matter could be sent within 30 days. He told the commissioners they could discuss the changes and following public input, have the new requirements approved by the members of the board of trustees. 

The changes affect Ordinance sections 4.15.2, 5.16.2, and 6.55. A public hearing is set for Dec. 9.

 (See official notice of public hearing, page 6.)