Wednesday, September 21, 2016
INDEPENDENCE — The Independence City Council will consider changes to city codes when it comes to marijuana growing and processing centers inside city limits.
“There were a number of areas that they wanted to see heightened regulation,” City Manager David Clyne said. “They’re definitely interested in seeing more buffers than the minimums required by state law.”
The decision to further limit marijuana operations came after hearing public comment at the Aug. 13 council meeting from half a dozen residents with concerns about a marijuana company starting a marijuana growing and processing business on Stryker Road.
Although the city’s attorney cautioned both the public and the council against specifically addressing the Stryker Road business application, the majority of complaints were about that business location. Public comments were from people who live near the Independence State Airport in the airpark.
Residents expressed concerns over federal marijuana regulations vs. state laws; odor from the marijuana grown; effects on property values; noise regulations; and safety and security.
An attorney representing marijuana business owners said that if the city changes its codes, the council should still allow her client to proceed with his business plan.
The city attorney said a ban or moratorium on marijuana businesses is not possible in Independence because a majority of citizens voted yes on Measure 91 in November 2013.
Councilor Nancy Lodge said she would like to see more buffers around marijuana businesses.
“I would like to see a buffer around just about everything, including residential (areas), schools, preschools, licensed child care facilities — especially residential,” Lodge said. “I think we need to have some kind of restriction on as many things as possible. This may not be the time to mention that, but I would like to see some fundamental changes as quickly as we can.”
Councilor Marilyn Morton agreed.
“Even if it’s a blanket ordinance that leaves language to be defined more later,” she said.
Councilors suggested looking at a buffer of 400 feet. Mayor John McArdle said the council needs to know what that really means in Independence — would it eliminate areas that marijuana businesses could operate in city limits?
City staff will research the councilors’ concerns, Clyne said, and bring back the information as soon as possible.
“We will be attempting to get them information in the relatively near future, dependent on the type of change being proposed,” he said.