Zoning for medical marijuana makes headway in Smithville

SMITHVILLE — With a first zoning ordinance reading approved March 19 and one more vote to go, zoning of medical marijuana facilities in Smithville is making headway. Zoning may be finalized at the next regular Board of Aldermen meeting, scheduled for Monday, April 1.

A recommendation from the planning and zoning commission was presented to the Smithville Board of Aldermen before approval of the first reading March 19.

After discussion, the planning and zoning commission believed it would be best to zone dispensaries for Business District 3, which are high-traffic business areas, Development Director Jack Hendrix said.

This will move dispensaries further from residential areas. Medical marijuana grow facilities are recommended to be zoned industrial.

Under the proposed zoning, Hendrix said dispensaries will still be allowed in industrial areas, but will be subject to existing zoning regulations that state a retail facility can only occupy 25 percent of the square footage of the facility.

According to a city zoning map, the biggest and most applicable industrial district available is at the southwest corner U.S. Highway 169 and Commercial Avenue.

The proposed zoning plan would also adhere to state requirements of restricting all medical marijuana facilities from within 1,000 feet of a school, church or day care. Hendrix described that distance as three football fields or a little less than a quarter of a mile.

One unknown, which will remain unknown until June 3 when the state will release its regulations and opens application processes for medical marijuana facilities, is where the distance measurement begins. It could be from the center of the school, church or day care, from the front door or property line, Hendrix said.

Hendrix made a model for the city that measured from the property line to be on the safe side.

When asked why he was taking action before the state sent out its own regulations, he said he is concerned that the application process, which opens the following day on June 4, will require addresses to be on the application. If zoning isn’t in place, the development director said, dispensaries could be located anywhere as long as they are 1,000 feet from a school, church or day care, he fears.

Any other regulations will be set after the state makes its determinations in June. Any city zoning regulations can be adjusted by the Board of Aldermen in the future, if a situation requires it.

Northwest Editor Sean Roberts can be reached at sean.roberts@mycouriertribune.com or 389-6606.

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