2017-08-10 / Front Page

Bingham Board appears ready to nix cannabis operations

The Bingham Township Planning Commission has recommended that the Bingham Township Board adopt a resolution that will block the establishment of medical marijuana facilities in the township.

Township zoning administrator Steve Patmore, who also works for Suttons Bay Township, said both townships have received informal inquiries from outside the county from individuals expressing an interest in establishing medical marijuana “grow” facilities in the townships.

Suttons Bay Township has yet to receive a formal request, but the Bingham Township Planning Commission last month received a written request for consideration. The Planning Commission immediately referred the issue to its Township Board for guidance.

Nearly the moment Patmore brought up the topic for discussion at last month’s Bingham Township Board meeting, trustee Gary McGhee offered a motion to adopt a resolution prohibiting medical marijuana facilities in the township.

However, Patmore convinced the Bingham Township Board they would be well-advised to consider the issue carefully before making a formal decision

– if for no other reason than to avoid unnecessary litigation. He said a Michigan State University Extension land use expert, Dr. Kurt Schindler, had already been considering the issue of medical marijuana facilities and township zoning, and had some relevant guidance.

The Township Board agreed to hold off adopting the resolution until they received a more formal recommendation from their Planning Commission.

At last week’s Bingham Township Planning Commission meeting, Patmore showed planners a draft resolution prepared by Michigan State University Extension containing language reviewed by attorneys to ensure compliance with state law. The Township Board is expected to adopt that resolution at its next regular monthly meeting on Aug. 21.

Patmore noted that the state’s department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) is still working on administrative rules for medical marijuana facilities, and agreed with a Michigan State University Extension recommendation that municipalities hold off writing zoning ordinance provisions on the topic until those rules are issued.

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