Sunday Times Newspapers
TAYLOR — The decision on recreational marijuana facilities in the city will be taken to the voters of Taylor after the City Council approved a ballot proposal for the November general election.
Discussions on allowing recreational marijuana facilities in the city have been going on for months, but will be decided on following multiple motions by council during an Aug. 11 special meeting.
Ultimately, the council voted to approve ballot language — which was amended — provided to them by City Attorney Ed Plato. He said it was an advisory proposal, which means the council would then draft an ordinance if the voters approve.
The amendment added restricting the facilities to industrial 2 districts in the city and the minimum distance of 2,500 feet between marijuana facilities as well as 2,500 feet away from other land uses which include schools, churches, libraries and residential areas.
That vote passed 6-1 with Councilwoman Angie Winton voting against.
The council next voted to approve the city’s marijuana ballot proposal and directed City Clerk Cynthia Bower to submit proposal to Wayne County to be placed on the November ballot. This was the amended corporation counsel draft.
The proposal passed 4-3 with Council Chair Doug Geiss and Councilmembers Charley Johnson, Jill Brandana, and Herman Ramik voting in favor, with Councilmembers Winton, Lindsey Rose and Ira Slaven voting against.
Geiss read the preamble which asks the residents to vote on an ordinance to repeal a ban on recreational establishments and adopt an ordinance limiting establishments to the city’s I-2 districts with 2,500 feet from each facility, schools, churches, libraries and residential areas.
The regulation will come through a zoning ordinance that would limit recreational establishments to industrial zoning districts and either regulate establishments by requiring that they be specific minimum distances from other land uses.
At the start of the meeting, the main motion to either approve or deny a marijuana ballot proposal from verified petitions — a resident-led initiative — was the first to be up for discussion.
Plato provided council with his opinion on if the petitions were valid under law, which he said are not due to a few reasons. He submitted a longer version of the reasons to council earlier in the week.
The ballot proposal from the petitioners didn’t indicate whether it was intended to apply to medical or recreational, or both, Plato said. Also, he said the proposal was vague and included general terms.
The proposal doesn’t indicate what is being amended, the city charter or ordinance, Plato said.
Finally, he said that there are at least eight Court of Appeals decisions for similar petitions where the judge determined they were invalid because they went beyond what the recreational statue permits petitioners to do.
The council initially voted 4-3 to approve the petitioners’ ballot proposal. Geiss, Johnson, Brandana, and Ramik voted for with Slaven, Winton and Rose voting against.
During public comment, a resident asked if the council’s vote went against the charter and about Plato’s opinion on the petitioners’ ballot proposal not being valid.
More discussion occurred before another vote was taken on a motion to reconsider the original motion involving the petitioners’ ballot proposal. That one passed 4-3 as well. Ramik, Slaven, Winton and Rose voted for, and Geiss, Johnson, Brandana voted against.
The council next voted against passage of the original motion, which was to either approve or deny the petitioners’ ballot language. Ramik, Slaven, Winton and Rose voted against; Geiss, Johnson, and Brandana voted for.
The final vote of the evening saw the council vote 6-1 to not have the city clerk submit the proposal to be placed on the ballot. Only Johnson voted against.
The special meeting took place after the council rejected the first reading of the two motions that would have started the process of allowing recreational marijuana commerce in the city.
A vote finally took place during the council’s July 19 meeting following months of discussion and postponement of the first reading of both ordinances.
First was the recreational marijuana commercial businesses ordinance which failed in a 4-2 vote. Brandana, Winton, Ramik and Rose voted against while Geiss and Johnson voted in favor. Slaven was absent.
In a second vote, the council voted 4-2 against amending the city’s ordinance relating to the zoning definition by adding verbiage specifically for recreational marijuana establishments. Brandana, Winton, Ramik and Rose voted against amending the ordinance; Geiss and Johnson voted for.
The resident-led ballot initiative was submitted by the petitioners by the deadline, which moved the topic to the August special meeting.
(Zeinab Najm can be reached at [email protected])