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Beckley Common Council welcomed medical cannabis facilities during the regular meeting Tuesday, with an ordinance that allows dispensaries, growing and processing facilities to operate in certain zones within city limits.

Council voted to approve an ordinance that permits medical cannabis dispensaries and growing facilities to operate in B-1, B-2 and M zones in the city and that allows medical cannabis processing to operate in B-1, B-2 and B-3 zones.

City attorney Bill File said that B-1 is a neighborhood/highway/business district, B-2 is zoned for general business and M is a manufacturing zone.

Prior to the vote, Councilman Kevin Price, Ward IV, asked city attorney Bill File if Council would be able to make further restrictions on the place, time and manner of operations by passing another ordinance at a later date.

“That is something that would be added on later,” said File. “That would be down the road. Regulations can certainly be adopted later on, by Common Council.”

Ward V Councilwoman Janine Bullock noted the dispensaries must be in a different location than growers and processors. She said that B-1 is also residential area.

“I was just concerned about that, especially if we’re looking at Raleigh Heights,” Bullock said, adding that her constituents were concerned.

“Once we pass zoning, we will not be able to go back and change, especially, not having B-1? Is that correct?” she asked.

File told her that she was correct. He added that the medical cannabis facilities would become permitted uses in the designated zones.

Councilman Robert Dunlap, Ward III, said that city treasurer Billie Trump had sent out a zoning map to Council and that he would use it to address constituents’ concerns.

“It’s actually a very small part of Beckley, in general, that would have the opportunity to have one of these three styles of facilities,” said Dunlap. 

Dunlap, who made a motion to pass the ordinance, told the public that Council members have information on the neighborhoods that are affected by the new ordinance.

File said that residential neighborhoods and the University district will not be impacted.

“This is for certain types of cannabis,” he added. “This is not something for recreational use.

“It’s not something that can be smoked.”

He said the facilities would be monitored by state legislators and health departments.

•••

Council approved the first reading of an ordinance that will allow the city to sell the former Beckley Police Department building at 340 Prince Street for $152,500 to the highest bidder, Ranson Berry, on an online auction house where the building had been listed.

Council will hold the public hearing and a second reading on the ordinance on July 28, said File. If passed by Council, the sale will take place.

Councilman Tom Sopher, Ward I, asked Mayor Rob Rappold about the future of the building on Main Street and the status of removal. The Walton Building caved in and damaged adjacent buildings on June 24. Since then, a portion of Main Street has been closed to traffic.

Rappold said the situation is heartbreaking. After the meeting, he stated that the matter is in the hands of insurance companies’ structural engineers who have inspected the property and are now writing reports.

“The process is longer than any of us wish,” said the mayor, adding that there is no definite opening date for Main Street.

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