By Dean Vaglia
Leader Staff Writer
The Village of Oxford Council began the final step to legalizing marijuana businesses in Oxford at its postponed meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 17.
With Council Member Maureen Helmuth absent, the council voted unanimously to repeal ordinance 411. The ordinance was adopted on August 13, 2019 and was continued several times over the past two years due to a sunset clause written into it. 411 was intended to be temporary, allowing the council to work out what time, place and manner restrictions would be placed on marijuana businesses should they be allowed in the village.
“Now that we’ve passed the zoning ordinance to allow (marijuana businesses) and regulate them, we need to remove the opt-out ordinance,” Village President Kelsey Cooke said.
Ordinance 411 and the council’s attempts to have regulated marijuana businesses in the village stirred controversy in the past, including a failed petition by residents to kill legalization plans. The next step is to vote on a second reading of the appeal, which will likely occur at the September council meeting.
Another move from the council that could have effects on marijuana businesses is the appointment of Scott Flynn to the Planning Commission. Flynn’s unanimous appointment fills the vacancy left by Gary Douglas’ resignation. Flynn is a 10-year resident of Oxford, has worked in the automotive industry with parts suppliers for over 10 years and lives on the east side of Oxford where the new businesses will be located.
“My interest in becoming more involved in the community is one based on my personal background involvement in Oxford as my daughter enters school,” Flynn said. “As well as I made a personal goal after completing my MBA to look for opportunities to get more involved and volunteer my time.”
Construction issues were touched on with the council first discussing an increase to the height of residential buildings and later learning about the updated PUD agreement for the E. Burdick building site.
The council unanimously approved the first reading of the Planning Commission’s recommendation to increase the height of principal buildings in R-1 single family residential zoned areas from 25 feet to 30 feet. The Planning Commission discussed the issue at its previous meeting and will hold a public meeting on the matter in September.
As for the E. Burdick project, the village, the DDA and site developer Weckle Properties came to an agreement to have the project structurally completed (roof, walls, etc.) by the end of 2021 and the parking lot usable by July 1, 2022. The interior will be completed once tenants rent out the space. The agreement stipulates Weckle Properties must complete certain project milestones by Oct. 15, Nov. 15 and Dec. 31. The terms of the agreement were presented to and unanimously approved by the council.
Other business handled by the council includes:
l Approving the Planning Commission’s recommended revisions to the village master plan
l Reappointing Rod Charles to the DDA
l Designating Council Member Lori Bourgeau to represent the village at the Michigan Municipal League convention later this month
l Authorizing $3,382 of Municipal Credits to fund NOTA services from July 1, 2021 to June 30, 2022
l Approving a permit request for a professional fireworks display by the Oxford Lakes Homeowners Association