By Dean Vaglia
Leader Staff Writer
The Charter Township of Oxford Board of Trustees moved closer to allowing medical marijuana businesses in select areas of the township at its Wednesday, May 11 meeting.
Trustees approved an ordinance putting forth the parameters for medical growers, transporters and provisioning centers, as well as approving the first reading of a zoning ordinance amendment to incorporate the board’s desired zoning restrictions. The primary zoning restriction is limiting provisioning centers to three overlay districts along M-24; cultivation and transportation businesses can operate within industrial zones.
While both the second reading of the ordinance and the first reading the zoning amendments were approved 6-1 — Treasurer Joe Ferrari provided the lone “no” vote — members of the board and property owner Rick Rice took issue with language in zoning amendments favoring “distressed” buildings and new construction. Under Article 5, Section 5.35 J-4, buildings intended to be provisioning centers must be new or “have been vacant for more than twelve (12) months” before a license application is submitted “to meet the goal of revitalizing the underutilized and economically distressed overlay areas.”
There are no given definitions for “underutilized” or “economically distressed” in the zoning amendments.
“I think basically we are not really giving everybody a fair chance here,” Rice said. “What you are doing is basically giving profits for poor performance. If you did not rent a building in a year or build something in a year, you should not have first steps in this whole procedure … You are throwing a lot of us right out of the gate.”
The medical marijuana changes will not go into effect until the zoning amendments are passed, which are up for a second reading in June.
The Oxford Fire Department moved to rid itself of three pieces of property, lock in a new one and swore in a new firefighter. Sean Goldie was sworn in by Chief Peter Scholz and Assistant chief Matthew Majestic. Goldie has been on the department’s staff since Monday, May 2.
“[Sean] comes to us with over 25 years of experience in St. Clair Shores,” Scholz said. “He retired from there as a battalion chief and is now on our shift.”
The department then received the approval to sell its 2007 Chevrolet Tahoe command vehicle and its 1996 Pierce firetruck currently designated as Engine 3 and accepted $69,000 for the sale of a 0.522-acre parcel behind Station 1. The $69,000 will be put toward building a training tower outside of Station 1 while Engine 3 will be replaced by a Sutphen firetruck $681,244.65. The truck will be built over about two years and offers more maintenance flexibility than Pierce trucks.
A report from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) committee’s counsel determined ARPA fund usage so far has been allowable under the act’s rules. The board then approved using just under $35,000 of ARPA funds to pay Birmingham Sealcoat to pave a section of roadway in the cemetery. The township has used around $985,000 of its allocated $2,023,243 ARPA funds.
The board agreed to take part in the Michigan Homeowner Assistance Fund (MIHAF), which provides funds to homeowners to help cover various utility and residential expenses.
7473: Sean Goldie, the Oxford Fire Department’s newest firefighter/paramedic, poses with Chief
Peter Scholz (left) and Assistant chief Matthew Majestic (right) after being sworn in at the
Tuesday, May 11 Oxford Charter Township Board of Trustees meeting.
By Dean Vaglia