2017-06-22 / Front Page

Solon deals with cannabis growing request

Hearing set for July 11
By Amy Hubbell
Of The Enterprise staff

A plan to create a medical marijuana growing facility in Solon Township is headed toward a public hearing next month.

The facility, proposed by a Leelanau County resident whose mailing address is listed on the same property, requires a Zoning Ordinance amendment. The Solon Township Planning Commission has set a hearing for 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 11.

Some neighbors are not too happy about the prospect of living near such a facility. One alerted the Enterprise in an email he did not want published.

Another wrote the Planning Commission.

“My first concern is that there is no district in effect in Solon’s Zoning Ordinance called ‘Medical Marijuana Facility,'” nearby property owner Kim Smith wrote to planning commissioners earlier this month. “I am concerned that this will be spot zoning as surrounding properties are rural residential in character.

“I do not see where this type of zoning serves a useful purpose to the residents of this neighborhood.”

Township planners have been working for the past three months with county native Samuel Rosinski, who is seeking to establish a state-licensed commercial medical cannabis production facility at 6100 E. Lincoln Rd.

“We are seeking to walk hand in hand with the township to construct an ordinance that is complimentary to all parties needs,” Rosinski said in an email to township officials.

Rosinski did not return a call for comment as of press time yesterday.

His request is one of four similar proposals received by township officials since March. However, Rosinski is the only person to submit a proposal in writing to the township, zoning administrator Tim Cypher said.

Late last year, Gov. Rick Snyder signed into law a trio of bills that addressed issues that hampered implementation of the voter-approved medical marijuana law.

Public Acts 281, 282 and 283 legalize and regulate marijuana dispensaries and edible food products, as well as growing, processing, and transporting medical marijuana.

The new law dictates that growers may only operate in an area that is zoned for agricultural or industrial areas. However, to become certified, growers need the support of townships in which they intend to operate.

In other words, townships have to expressly allow commercial medical marijuana operations in their zoning for such a business to locate there.

The Solon Township Board forwarded the issue to the Planning Commission in April. The planners have been working with Rosinski and township legal counsel to craft a zoning amendment that would allow conditional uses including medical marijuana processing in all zoning districts.

Rosinski provided a $3,000 escrow fund for use in developing the zoning provision.

“No taxpayer dollars have been spent on this effort,” Cypher said.

Rosinski would like to build a 143- by 143-foot steel construction pole building on 78 acres located on Lincoln Road in eastern Solon Township.

A parking area with 27 slots for employees is also outlined.

The production facility would be used to grow, process, and test products sold to state-approved facilities. There would no retail sales.

The proposed zoning amendment establishes requirements for lighting, noise, and security, among others.

Rosinski has said background checks will be conducted on employees. The property would be under 24-hour video surveillance.

Local approval is needed for the growing operation to receive state certification which has a deadline of December 2017.

Rosinski has already approached the Benzie-Leelanau District Health Department, Road Commission and Drain Commissioner’s office seeking the required permits.

Rosinski has a bachelor’s degree in business and marketing from Western Michigan University.

He has served as an analyst managing university endowments, hospital-wide 401Ks as well as non-profit endowments.

In 2015, he founded Bio-Logic, a consulting firm to assist growers, processors and provisioners.

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