The City of Monroe wants Monroe Charter Township to consider its neighboring municipalities as the latter continues to iron out an ordinance governing recreational marijuana establishments within its boundaries.
City Attorney Matthew D. Budds penned a letter to the township on behalf of the city this week, asking that the township “strongly consider the proximity of residential uses to any (marijuana) facility that may be approved to operate within the Township’s boundaries.”
“The City of Monroe is concerned that marijuana facilities may be approved by the Township that are located within a short distance from residential uses of both the Township and the City,” the letter reads. “While regulation of marijuana facilities and related uses within the Township is within the purview of the Township Board, decisions by the Township leadership will impact properties located near the Township’s boundaries, including those within the City.
“As a result, the City requests that the Township consider the nature, use and character of the properties within a reasonable distance of any marijuana facilities that may be approved by the Township, including those outside the geographic boundaries of the Township.
“The City further requests that the Township adopt reasonable regulatory ordinances that provide appropriate buffering between any approved marijuana uses and residences, schools, churches, and other similar uses that may be deemed incompatible with marijuana facilities.”
The letter stems from a discussion Monroe City Council had at its meeting on Monday, where Budds specifically mentioned a proposed cannabis business in the township, near the corner of W. Seventh St. and S. Telegraph Rd. The location sits less than 350 feet Southeast of the dead-end road of Palmwood Ave., which includes both township and city residences.
While state law governing recreational marijuana facilities requires buffer zones between the businesses and locations such as schools, daycares and churches, there is no minimum required distance between pot shops and residential neighborhoods. But as the city has explored the possibility of establishing its own ordinances governing recreational marijuana establishments within its boundaries, council has expressed a desire to keep the controversial retail locations away from residences.
“Palmwood comes right down into that vicinity (near W. Seventh and Telegraph), but is a dead-end street; It ends very close to the proximity to that corner, but you just can’t get there in direct fashion,” Budds explained to council Monday. “…If you do an as-the-crow-flies measurement from that corner of the (commercial) property to the first house located in the City of Monroe on Palmwood, I’ll say you’re within the vicinity of 250-350 feet… It just shows the interconnected nature of what will happen between the jurisdictions.”
Both Budds and Monroe Mayor Robert Clark emphasized that the city was not looking to dictate how the township proceeded in what has been a long, contentious battle to establish an ordinance governing recreational marijuana facilities.
Clark referenced the many, longstanding partnerships between the two municipalities in saying that this was just a way for the city to communicate its concerns to the neighboring township.
“We’re trying to send, I’ll just say a correspondence of what we see and of the city,” Clark said. “By no means is it to tell someone what to do that we have no authority over. It’s more in the idea of sharing a view on a couple considerations as they deliberate and dialogue through their discussions on their ordinance.”
When reached for comment Thursday, Monroe Township Supervisor Al Barron said he understood the city’s concerns. He also said that the final ordinance the township adopts — a draft of which is currently being reviewed by township attorneys — is expected to include language that requires recreational marijuana facilities within the township to be at least 2,000 feet away from any boundaries with neighboring jurisdictions.
“They’re not looking to tell the township what to do, and we wouldn’t tell the city what to do,” Barron said. “The new draft of the ordinance that we have and that we will be presenting will (require a buffer zone of) 2000 feet from another municipality.”
But Barron added that the specific business at W. Seventh and S. Telegraph that concerned the city is one of six facilities that was approved under the purview of the township’s original ordinance that has since been scrapped for the one currently being reviewed by its attorneys.
Barron said he didn’t see the location being an issue, given that there is no direct connection between the Palmwood neighborhood and the location of the proposed cannabis facility at the corner of Seventh and Telegraph. He said he’d reached out to both City Manager Vince Pastue and Mayor Clark, and while he hadn’t been able to connect with the mayor as of Thursday morning, “Vince seemed happy with that.”
Barron added that he has high hopes for the version of the township’s ordinance currently being reviewed by its attorneys.
“This one does seem to have board support,” he said. “The last ones were 4-3 (votes), but this one is good. This is the one.”