THREE OAKS — The Three Oaks Village Council on Sept. 9 made a series of tentative changes to the draft version of the Village of Three Oaks Regulation of Adult Use Marihuana Ordinance and set a public hearing date for the document during its Sept. 9 regular meeting.

Trustee Colleen Newquist said the draft ordinance as presented has numbers that mirror those on the ballot initiative.

Trustee Steve Graziano had earlier said it was his understanding that the plan was to keep marijuana businesses out of the downtown area and allow them along the U.S. 12 corridor.

Trustee John Pappa said, "Our ordinance that we are going to discuss is going to protect us from having 10 reefer joints in the middle of downtown, two grow places back of downtown."

After much discussion the Village Council voted 5-2 (with Village President Dave Grosse, Pappa, John Kramer, Graziano and Troy Zebell voting yes and Newquist and Becky Thomas voting no) to :

• To limit the number of grow operations that would be allowed in the village to two of any classification (there are three classifications in medical and three under recreational plus one under micro grower).

• To limit the number of retail licenses in the village to one medical (with the likelihood that a recreational operation would be part of the entity).

Graziano said village officials could add more retail licenses later.

"Why can't we start slow, and start with one retailer?" he said, with Grosse agreeing.

Thomas questioned why so many potential problems are foreseen in Three Oaks when other area communities have multiple retail businesses with no apparent issues.

Attorney Joslyn Monahan of Kreis Enderle Hudgins & Borsos, P.C. noted that the entire industry in Michigan is trending toward adult use (recreational) "to put it mildly."

She said under the state's adult use regulations there is a clause that says a municipality cannot prohibit co-location of the two types of businesses, adding that the "cleanest way" to have one retail establishment in the village would be to allow a medical license including language noting that the owner would also be able to operate recreationally. She said the chances that a licensee would only operate as a medical supplier is unlikely, but not impossible.

The Village Council also voted 6-1 to allow two marijuana processors, one marijuana safety compliance facility and one marijuana secure transporter under the Regulation of Adult Use Marihuana Ordinance (Thomas cast the no vote).

A public hearing on the proposed Village of Three Oaks Regulation of Adult Use Marihuana Ordinance was scheduled for the Village Council's next regular meeting on Oct. 14.

Although the council decided to discuss the bulk of the Zoning Ordinance Amendments Related to Adult Use Marihuana Establishments during a Sept. 23 special meeting scheduled earlier to amend the 2019-20 budget, Graziano brought up the issue of whether the distance between marijuana businesses should be 500 or 1,000 feet.

No resolution on that issue was reached.

The Village Planning Commission has scheduled a hearing on the Zoning Ordinance Amendments Related to Adult Use Marihuana Establishments for its Oct. 6 regular meeting.

There also was discussion on the wording for a marijuana initiative set to appear on the Nov. 3 ballot during the Sept. 9 Village Council meeting.

Village President Dave Grosse said they were told by county officials that the ballot initiative wording (which he said the village just saw the day before their Sept. 9 meeting) had been approved by a representative Three Oaks Township.

The following wording was read during the meeting — "A proposed ordinance permitting a limited number and type of marijuana related establishments within the Village of Three Oaks pursuant to all applicable state laws. and to charge a non-refundable application fee for such permits. Should this proposal be adopted? Yes or No."

Grosse said the petition people signed is very detailed while the ballot language obviously is not. He asked how do people distinguish between the ballot initiative petition language and the ordinance the village is working on.

In other Sept. 9 business, the Three Oaks Village Council:

• Approved spending $3,600 to have the ends of the Carver Park pavilion beams re-varnished and re-stained.

• Voted in favor of a 2020-2021 Budget.

• Accepted a $401 bid for a non-running 1986 Ford F-350 truck and a $500 bid for a 1986 Ford dump truck which also is not running.

• Was informed that the large-item pick-up day in the village will be Oct. 3 for large items in residential areas.

• Approved a 2 percent pay increase for village employees effective Oct. 1.

• Scheduled a special meeting to amend the 2019-20 budget for Sept. 23.

• Were told the DDA is exploring making the downtown area an  historic district (which Grosse said is a long process) and is looking into having electric vehicle stations installed downtown at no cost to the village.

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