Roseville City Council approves medical marijuana zoning ordinances

By: Brendan Losinski | Roseville - Eastpointe Eastsider | Published October 23, 2020

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ROSEVILLE — At its regular meeting Oct. 13, the Roseville City Council approved two zoning ordinance changes regarding the establishment of medical marijuana businesses within the city.

The two ordinances establish an overlay zoning district within the city where such businesses can be located and establish buffer zones between such facilities and other institutions such as schools, churches and substance abuse treatment centers.

“We originally adopted a regulatory ordinance regarding medical marijuana facilities in Roseville in February,” explained City Attorney Tim Tomlinson. “Council now had to address this topic through the zoning ordinances as well. It’s a comprehensive zoning ordinance that sets forth a lot of the parameters that were already adopted in the regulatory ordinance but applies to the zoning ordinances.”

The first measure dealt with the overlay zoning district. Council approved it unanimously 6-0, with Councilman Charles Frontera being absent from the meeting.

“This establishes an overlay zoning district, which means certain properties are included in it and certain properties are not included in it, and if they met the requirements (to open such a business),” Tomlinson explained. “It’s in the industrial district primarily along Groesbeck Highway. It goes up almost to 14 Mile Road and goes south to 11 Mile Road.”

The second vote was also approved unanimously.

“The second measure dealt with buffers,” Tomlinson continued. “The buffers in the regulatory ordinance were different than what the Planning Commission recommended, so we had to make sure they were consistent.”

Councilman Steven Wietecha said he was glad the city has taken steps to ensure there is ample space between the proposed facilities and local institutions.

“I think it’s important to have these businesses away from the schools, the churches, the children and so forth,” he remarked. “I think I’m satisfied with what we landed on with these ordinances. I’m very appreciative to our Planning Commission for their work.”

Mayor Robert Taylor said he was satisfied that the city has come up with a plan to both allow the businesses and also ensure the rest of the community remains largely unaffected by them.

“I think that we came up with a very good plan for the residents of Roseville,” said Taylor. “I realize that when you have a buffer zone that not everyone is going to be happy, because there are some people within the 1,000-foot buffer that really would like to open up a facility, but we got a resolution from the school board, and we work hand in fist with the schools, and they didn’t want anything closer than 1,000 feet. We agreed with their resolution, and between us, the Planning Commission and the building director, we came up with the ordinance we voted on tonight.”

The buffer zones include a 1,000-foot restriction from places such as schools and churches, a length that some proponents of having medical marijuana facilities in Roseville thought was excessive. Tomlinson defended those lengths.

“The City Council has grappled with this issue (of buffer distances) for a long time,” he said. “There was input from the schools as well. City Council had broad discretion under the state statute as to what to make the dispersion requirements. They tried to be consistent as possible and not give different distances for this type of use or that type of use. They only distinguished between residential uses and the other uses like the churches, the schools, the substance abuse centers and so forth. One thousand feet is not unheard of, and that’s what council went with.”

Taylor stressed that just because the overlay zoning district and buffers are established doesn’t mean that any institution can come into Roseville and open up shop. They will be required to go through an application process and only a set number of facilities will be allowed within the city.

“It doesn’t guarantee you get a license,” he said. “There are businesses that might think that because they’re in that buffer zone that they can get a permit, but that only means they can put in an application. We’re going to establish how many we’re going to have and then go from there. There will be a set amount (of facilities) anywhere between five and 10 facilities.”

The exact details of the application process have yet to be determined.

“(The application process) hasn’t been finalized or decided. I’ve made some recommendations to council based on what other communities have used,” said Tomlinson. “We anticipate using a scoring criteria for applicants, giving certain points for investment, development and that type of thing. We will probably have a subcommittee to make these decisions that will be open to the public.”

The application process will take some time and Tomlinson said it would at least be until next summer when the first of such medical marijuana facilities will go in.

“The ordinance won’t go into effect for 20 days (from Oct. 13), so I would say the earliest we could see businesses putting a shovel in the dirt would be maybe early next summer if we’re moving quickly,” he said. “These applications are very detailed and they take some time to go through and score, so it will take a little time.”