2017-10-19 / Front Page

$3,000 ‘donation’ returned in Solon

By Amy Hubbell
Of The Enterprise staff

A $3,000 payment made by a man who proposed to build and operate a medical marijuana grow and processing facility in Solon Town has been returned.

The payment has been described as a “donation” and to set up an escrow account to cover township expenses in administering his request by various township officials.

The Solon Township Board at its monthly meeting last Thursday voted unanimously to return the money to Solon Township resident Sam Rosinski. The reimbursement was based on recommendations from the Planning Commission and zoning administrator Tim Cypher, who did not return before our deadline a request for comment made Tuesday.

Township supervisor Jim Lautner explained the decision.

“It had nothing to do with marijuana,” he said. “It was all about the conditional amendment. We didn’t want to be on the hook for the cost of it.”

Earlier this year, Rosinski approached the township with plans for a 20,500 square-foot building to build a marijuana facility on Lincoln Road.

He also provided the township with a template for a Zoning Ordinance amendment that would allow conditional approval of his facility and unrelated uses in zoning districts throughout the township.

The proposed development drew the ire of township residents who came out in droves opposed to not only the marijuana facility but the conditional use zoning amendment as well.

Many residents organized under the name Solon Township Improvement Committee (STIC). Members of the group made their views known at public comment periods during meetings, and continue to attend meetings of the Planning Commission and Solon Township Board.

STIC members say they are determined to look more closely at what’s going on in the township and this includes sending a representative to every single Planning Commission. STIC president Kim Smith also did not return a request for comment.

In July, the Solon Township Board adopted a resolution banning medical marijuana facilities in the township.

At a later meeting, the Planning Commission agreed to table the proposed zoning amendment altogether.

Steve Yoder, who represents the Township Board on the Solon Planning Commission, explained the decision.

“The ($3,000) was to pay for what it would take to process the application,” he said. “Nothing was approved and none of the costs (for attorney fees) were applied to the escrow account.”

A $500 application fee paid by Rosinski for the medical marijuana production facility was not returned to him by the township.

“It doesn’t quite cover every expense, something paid as part of the zoning process,” Lautner added. “He is a township resident.”

Yoder agreed.

“If (the medical marijuana proposal) had been approved, it may have been a different story,” he said.” We’re treating (Rosinski) like we would anybody else.”

Freedom of Information Act requests showed that Cypher billed the township for extra work he spent on the Rosinski request.

Minutes of a Planning Commission meeting at which time the funds were sought from Rosinski called the exchange an “escrow account” to help pay township expenses. Cypher told planners, minutes state, that the account was recommended by township attorney Dave Bieganowski. However, at the county Planning Commission meeting and again in an interview with the Enterprise Bieganowski called the fund exchange a “donation” and stated that Rosinski never submitted an application for his project.

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