Resident Shares Concerns on Medical Marihuana & Senior-Living Project

Resident Shares Concerns on Medical Marihuana & Senior-Living Project

MERIDIAN TOWNSHIP - Meridian Township's Planning Commission held two public hearings at the Feb. 11 meeting to discuss zoning issues.

The first public hearing addressed concerns regarding an amendment to establish the Commercial Medical Marihuana Facilities Overlay District, six districts in total.

A public remark was made by Meridian Township resident Lynne Page, who spoke in opposition of this zoning amendment. Page said establishing these districts would "trigger an avalanche of rezoning requests because of this free-market issue."

"There is no need to establish six Commercial Medical Marihuana Overlay Zoning Districts in Meridian Township in order to serve approximately 1,000 resident patients," Page said.

She urged the Planning Commission to consider the negative impacts she said these districts will have on the community. She also asked the Planning Commission to "vote to limit them to a single location away from schools, away from the highway, and easily accessible to law enforcement."

The amendment was initiated by the Township Board and was passed on to the Planning Commission meeting in order to hold the public hearing.

After a presentation and discussion held by the planning commission regarding drafting this amendment, the Planning Commissioner Scott-Craig said a list of suggestions should be drafted up so that the commission could come to a better conclusion regarding a decision for the Commercial Medical Marihuana Overlay Zoning Districts.

The second public hearing issue, which was also initiated by the Township Board and then passed on to the planning commission for discussion, addressed a senior-living project on Hannah Boulevard. The Township Board initiated a zoning amendment calling for an ordinance allowing the addition of senior living communities under the institutions for human care category, as well as calling for a special use permit allowing to allow for non-residential use in residential zoning districts. This would allow for the combination of independent senior living and licensed professional care.

The draft ordinance states that the senior living communities would allow people age 55 or older to live there, or couples who have a spouse of at least 55 years of age, would allow for a combination of independent living and professional nursing care for the residents, and establishes a maximum independent living units to specialized service units of two to one.

During public comments, Paige brought up a concerns of operating this business in a residential area.

"A multi-family unit has parking lots, it has dumpsters, it has 24-hour care with shifts of staff coming and going and shining their car lights into the windows of the adjacent residential properties," Page said. "A height of a residential, of a single-family residential home is limited to 35 feet and having a building that would be four stories high and 60 feet tall abutting a single-family residential neighborhood would be terrible."

After continued discussion of the second public hearing issue, the Planning Commission decided to continue discussing this zoning amendment further at future meetings.

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