Commissioners disagree on details
BALDWIN — The Pleasant Plains Township planning commission met on July 22, in a special meeting to consider a special land use request for a recreational marijuana grow facility.
Following a public hearing on July 18, the request had been conditionally approved after commission members objected to the site plan that included using converted shipping containers as modules for the grow facility.
Commission members pointed out that shipping containers were not allowed in the township and requested the site plan be revised to include a permanent structure with a concrete slab.
The planning commission agreed that if the site plan was revised to include a permanent structure, they could get on board with granting the special land use permit.
A revised site plan was submitted, replacing the shipping containers with a 20×40 foot pole barn on a concrete slab.
During the special meeting, Township Supervisor Kevin Braddy questioned whether the newly proposed pole barn building would comply with the county building codes.
Commission member Randy Eling said the county has nothing to do with the special land use permits allowed by the township.
“This is between the township and the state,” Eling said. “The state determines if the building meets code. The county has nothing to do with it.”
Commission chairperson Su Eling added, it is up to the state to determine if the building is up to code before approving the license for the grow facility.
Commission member Dave Ghent said he was concerned about the size of the property because it is only 1.9 acres and according to the township ordinance on greenhouses and nurseries, 5 acres is required.
“In this case, the recreational marijuana ordinance takes precedence,” Su Eling said. “The proposal meets all of the requirements of the township ordinance for recreational marijuana and for zoning. He has done everything we have asked him to do and now it is up to us to approve his request.”
“My concern is that we will have a pole barn with electricity and a port-a-potty in a commercial district,” Braddy said. “That’s a precedent we don’t want to set.”
Su Eling explained that the property was zoned as rural forest and was not in the commercial district, therefore the zoning requirements were different than for commercial property.
“We have to go by the rural forest zoning ordinance and the recreational marijuana ordinance,” she said. “It meets all the requirements of the marijuana ordinance and the zoning ordinance as far as our part of it.”
The proposal is for a Class A small grow facility of 100 plants with a 20×40 foot, permanent structure that would be enclosed with a fence and would include a carbon filter air filtration system for odor control, and would use solar power and recycled rain water so no water or electricity would be necessary, she said.
Randy Eling told the commissioners that they were reaching to far out of the planning commission’s perview with their objections to the request and that the special land use permit should be approved.
A motion to approve the request failed with a 3-3 vote.
“I don’t think we have properly had enough time to look this request over,” Ghent said. “I’m not sure we have enough information to approve it right now.”
A motion to table the request until further information could be gathered was approved.