Rezoning for Med Marijuana Denied

At its Oct. 3, 2011 meeting, the Ann Arbor city council voted to deny a request for the rezoning of a South State Street property, so that it could be used as a medical marijuana dispensary. The request was denied on a 3-8 vote.

The owner of Treecity Health Collective, a dispensary at 1712 S. State, had requested that the city planning commission recommend the location be rezoned from O (office) to C1 (local business). The owner had also asked that the area plan requirement for that location be waived. However, at their Aug. 16, 2011 meeting, planning commissioners recommended denial of the requests, based on a staff recommendation, stating that C1 zoning is not consistent with adjacent zoning, land uses and the city’s master plan.

And at their  Sept. 19 meeting, councilmembers were hesitant to vote down the rezoning, and instead decided to delay their vote. The council is looking ahead to another rezoning request in the same vicinity on South State – for Biercamp Artisan Sausage and Jerky – and appears keen to treat them in parallel fashion. At its Sept. 8 meeting, the city planning commission recommended denial of Biercamp’s rezoning request, which would allow the sausage business to sell a greater variety of products beyond those manufactured on the site.

The Treecity Health Collective opened in 2010. This summer, the Ann Arbor city council approved amendments to the city’s zoning ordinances that prevent medical marijuana dispensaries from operating in office zoning districts – those changes were set to take effect on Aug. 22, 2011. Rather than relocate the dispensary, the business asked for the zoning change. The property – located on the west side of State, south of Stimson – is owned by Francis Clark.

A recent court of appeals ruling has raised legal questions about the existence of dispensaries under Michigan’s Medical Marijuana Act. However, the Ann Arbor city council decided at its Sept. 6 meeting to proceed with the appointment of four out of the five members of its medical marijuana licensing board and subsequently appointed the five member. That body met for the first time on Sept. 21.

This brief was filed from the city council’s chambers on the second floor of city hall located at 301 E. Huron. A more detailed report will follow: [link]