Madison Township Zoning Commission has scheduled a public hearing at 7 p.m., Jan. 10, regarding proposed amendments to the community’s zoning text that pertain to businesses specializing in medical marijuana.
That hearing will take place at the township Administration Building, at 2065 Hubbard Road.
The commission is inviting members of the public to officially comment on proposed conditional-use regulations for medical marijuana cultivators, processors and retail dispensaries in specific township zoning districts.
These suggested rules were created following a Nov. 17 special meeting, during which township trustees approved a six-month moratorium on issuing and processing permits allowing retail dispensers, cultivators or processors of medical marijuana within the township.
That meeting was called after trustees became aware of a Michigan-based company’s desire to establish a medical-marijuana dispensary in the township.
Future Gen Ohio was looking to establish a medical marijuana dispensary in the former Advanced Auto Parts building at 6623 North Ridge Road.
An attorney spoke on behalf of Future Gen Ohio during the Nov. 17 gathering. She said the company wanted a township government representative to sign a form verifying that the community had no moratoriums in place regarding the issuing of permits for medical marijuana dispensaries.
The company intended to include the signed document from the township in an application to enter a statewide lottery for licenses to establish new medical marijuana dispensaries in Ohio.
However, Trustee Kenneth Gauntner Jr. recommended to fellow legislators Peter Wayman and Max Anderson Jr. that the board immediately approve a moratorium on issuing and processing permits for businesses involved with medical marijuana.
Trustees voted unanimously in favor of a six-month moratorium, which stays in effect until June 1.
“At the time, back on Nov. 17, I felt we needed to put the moratorium in place because we didn’t have any regulatory power (over medical-marijuana businesses) as far as zoning goes,” Gauntner said at a Dec. 14 trustees meeting.
Gauntner also said on Dec. 14 that he had performed research about how other communities regulate medical marijuana businesses through their zoning codes. He then worked with township Zoning Inspector Michele Howell to draft “some conditional-use regulations that are basically things that townships can regulate under zoning.”
Regulations that a township could put into place regarding medical-marijuana businesses include items such as off-street parking, signage, hours of operation, and zoning districts where these enterprises would be allowed, Gauntner said.
Trustees passed a resolution on Dec. 14 requesting that the township Zoning Commission hold a public hearing on these text amendments. As part of that resolution, trustees stated that, in their opinion, “medical marijuana cultivators, processors and retail dispensaries would be best located in the B-2 Regional Business, B-3 Wholesale and Trade and M-1 Light Manufacturing zoning districts.”
The Zoning Commission’s upcoming public hearing on the suggested amendments will actually take place in two installments.
Although the session will open at 7 p.m. Jan. 10, the commission won’t conclude proceedings on the same night. Instead the panel will continue the hearing at a meeting slated for 7 p.m. Feb. 14, at which time they’re expected to decide on sending the amendments to trustees for final action.
It was necessary to schedule a two-part hearing because, according to state law, a township zoning commission needs to receive a recommendation from its county planning commission before taking a vote on proposed zoning amendments.
“(On Feb. 14th), the Madison Township Zoning Commission will have the recommendation from the Lake County Planning Commission,” Howell said.