2017-07-13 / Front Page

Pot problem

Gaines Twp. might not be able to stop marijuana grow at former church
BY LANIA ROCHA
810-452-2652 • lrocha@mihomepaper.com

GAINES TOWNSHIP – Construction is temporarily halted at a former church where new owners reportedly plan to grow medical marijuana.

Township police Chief Mark Schmitzer said the owners did not obtain proper permits before commencing construction at 10289 Seymour Road.

He said property owners picked up the documents after receiving a stop work order, but as of late Monday, had yet to submit the completed forms.

Meanwhile, the township may have hit a snag in attempting to prohibit the planned use of the facility.

The former Jerusalem Missionary Baptist church was a topic of discussion in June when several residents appeared before the township Board of Trustees to protest the supposed plan for a grow facility.

At that time, township officials said that, under state legislation approved in 2016, all communities are automatically “opted out” of the provisions for large-scale marijuana operations. For such facilities to locate within a community, the governing board must opt in, which elected officials here have said they will not do.

However, certain medical marijuana facilities are still allowed under the 2008 state law.

“I’m being told that that’s what they intend to do (operate under the 2008 law),” said township attorney Michael Gildner.

As such, the landowners may have one caregiver with up to five patients, and may grow up to 72 plants.

Since the township has no zoning ordinances regulating the time, location or manner in which medical marijuana may be grown, it might not be able to stop “anything that is done consistent with the 2008 law,” Gildner said.

According to county tax records, Oakhill Partners LLC, which lists a Grand Blanc office address, owns the property.

The limited liability company is registered with the state Licensing and Regulatory Affairs office.

The Swartz Creek View reached out to the licensee but had not received a response by press time.

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