The Leighton Township Board Thursday evening adopted a resolution to opt out of developing any ordinance permitting medical marijuana dispensaries.
The 4-0 vote was taken after a discussion of the issue, which has been brought before the board several times by interested parties who wanted to establish facilities for growing, processing and transporting the product. The State Legislature passed and Gov. Rick Snyder signed a law permitting local government units to decide on whether or not to allow such facilities within their borders.
Trustee John Hooker said he has been approached by constituents who said they didn’t think it a good idea to develop an ordinance.
Supervisor Steve Deer concurred, saying, “No one has expressed an opinion to me, for or against, but it’s my feeling this doesn’t fit.”
Hooker added it would be a substantial cost to the township to develop an ordinance.
Citizen Kate Scheltema in the audience pointed out that the businesses applying for licenses would have to pay a $5,000 fee each year.
Treasurer Char Troost said, “And it could cost us more for public safety. If we decide to go ahead with this, it’ll be costly.
“Because I’m a grandparent, I’d like to protect our kids.”
Audience members replied that the product would be available for approved medical patients only and citizen Steve Shoemaker asked Troost how she feels about alcohol being. He told her, “I think at least some of your fears are unfounded.”
Nonetheless, the vote to opt out was 4-0 with Mary Lou Nieuwenhuis absent.
In other business at Thursday night’s meeting, the Township Board:
• Was told the Planning Commission has approved a request for a special use permit for Michigan Minerals & Aggregates on Patterson Avenue.
• Reappointed Rod Alderink to an alternate post on the Zoning Board of Appeals.
• Agreed to tentatively appoint Matt VanderEide to a seat on the Planning Commission being vacated by Ray Kuipers due to scheduling conflicts.
• Noted there will be paving projects within the township for all of 2018, but approved the Allegan County Road Commission’s plans for graveling about five miles of roads at a cost of about $15,000 per mile.
• Agreed to continue meetings dates and times as 7 p.m. on each second Thursday of the month.
• Set a public hearing on the fiscal year 2018-19 budget for 6:30 p.m. Thursday, March 8.
• Fielded a complaint from a citizen that Kalamazoo Avenue north from 142nd Avenue to 108th, the Kent County line, is in poor shape and needs work as soon as 2019.
• Noted there were 55 building permits issued in 2017 in the township at a value of $13.8 million.