Crystal board approves marijuana application processPosted by On

Crystal Township Trustee George Bahm, right, and Clerk Patty Baker-Marek look over a proposed application those applying for a medical or recreational marijuana facility license would have to submit to the township during Wednesday’s meeting. — DN Photo | Brandon Schreur

CRYSTAL TOWNSHIP — Having previously opted into allowing certain types of recreational and medical marijuana facilities within the township, the Crystal Township Board is now setting its application guidelines.

In December, the board unanimously passed ordinances to allow for recreational marijuana micro-businesses and retail stores and medical marijuana provisioning centers within the township.

During Wednesday’s meeting, the board revisited the topic when Clerk Patty Baker-Marek informed those in attendance that they received a draft copy of the application that anyone interested in opening a facility would have to submit to the township from their attorney.

Baker-Marek raised a few questions she had about the application process and suggested making a few amendments.

“It says that the licensing will be open for 30 days from the effective date of this resolution and will close 120 days after that,” she said. “I don’t know why we’d want to give four months for this application process. If they apply today, the board has 15 days to consider the application. I don’t know why we’d wait four months to review those applications, especially just within this initial application process.”

Baker-Marek suggested changing the application window from 120 days to 30 days to speed up the process.

“If we don’t have four applications (the number of marijuana facilities allowed in Crystal Township) come in within 30 days, we could then open it back up again to anybody else,” she said. “It doesn’t make sense to drag it out for four months and wait for people to apply when we might only get people who apply on the first day and then nobody else applies. This way, it doesn’t just sit there for four months doing nothing.”

With the board in agreement on that point, Baker-Marek continued to ask a few questions about the other documents required alongside an application.

“(The attorney) put in here that the application needs to provide a copy of state license for qualification, a copy of all documents submitted to the Marijuana Regulatory Agency and a business plan,” she explained. “I struggle with that. Part of the business plan is the financials, and if we’re going to hold public hearings whenever this comes up, is it appropriate to put someone’s financials out there to the public?”

“My other question is on-site plans,” she said. “Most site plans I studied are so that the township or municipality can determine if the site meets zoning requirements. We don’t have any zoning, so why do we need a site plan?”

Trustees George Bahm and Sherry Kutt both suggested that they let the state dictate what the applicant must provide them with through the process and then pull anything they don’t want out there for the public when it comes to the township level.

“Sometimes a business plan will have money in it, other times it’s just stating they have some financial backers,” Bahm said.

“We could pull documents that we feel is inappropriate to share with the general public,” Kutt added. “If they’re preparing this packet for the state anyway, then we might as well get a copy of it.”

Before approving the application process, Baker-Marek questioned the application’s rubric chart and wondered how the township was supposed to go about enforcing it.

“The rubric chart, I feel, is pretty subjective. The first thing on there is physical appearance and says that the exterior of the physical facility is compatible with the exterior of the buildings already constructed or under construction within the immediate area. How do I score that? That’s totally subjective. Another thing on there is about negative air pressure maintained inside the building. Do I know enough about negative air pressure to make that determination and score one person against another?”

Bahm suggested that instead of pretending they’re experts in the field, the township requires all applicants to provide additional documents with that information.

“We could require as part of the application process that they pay to have a third party come in and do that testing,” he told the board. “They’ll have the proper equipment to do that. As part of that, they then provide the additional documentation showing they meet the (CFMs — cubic feet per minute) rating.”

Sidney Township resident David Overholt was in attendance at the meeting and told the board that the state of Michigan would handle much of the information that they questioned.

“A lot of things you discussed today in your planning, the experts will come in after (the applicants) turn in the site plan to the state,” he said. “At the end of the day, when they apply for their final license from the state, all those inspections will be made by state employees. A lot of the stuff you’re concerned about, they won’t get their license if they don’t meet those goals.”

Bahm further explained the point and made a motion to accept the application process with the amended changes.

“To pass through the state stuff, it has to include security measures and some other things,” he said. “That information would all be included in there. If they meet all the requirements of the state and it’s not already included in the state’s qualifications, I think we just need to put in there that they need additional documentation for CFMs. That’s directly related to the odor and, as many people have stated, that’s their biggest concern.”

Bahm’s motion passed unanimously.

Baker-Marek told the Daily News the next step for the township is to pass an actual ordinance regarding the application process. At that point, the township can then set a date for the window to apply.

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