A $4 million investment in medical marijuana that could create more than 50 jobs has cleared its first hurdle.
Wednesday night, the Mt. Morris Township Planning Commission approved a request to rezone a tract of land on the corner of Jennings and Mt. Morris roads to light industrial.
If the township board approves the change, a 31,000-square-foot medical marijuana growing facility, processing center, and potential dispensary may be in the works.
"We're looking at within our facility at full capacity within a year," said Ashley Andrews, the director of property management for the Flint-based Andrews Properties.
The land would be fashioned into an industrial park with the hopes of attracting other commercial businesses or light industrial users.
Before the board voted, they heard from a number of residents who opposed a medical marijuana facility at that particular location.
"Would you want this across from your home, or next door to your home," said Bonita Evans, whose parents live close to proposed site.
"Having a dispensary that close to my house, where my kids pick up a bus and get dropped off, is of grave concern to me," said Lottie Ferguson.
Despite those concerns, the planning commission voted 4-3 to approve Andrews' application to rezone the site.
"We've made it this far. Going forward, it will be in front of the board who will make the ultimate determination," said Andrews.
Planning commissioners turned down another application to rezone land on Pasadena Avenue for a medical marijuana facility.
"Right now, the way it is, my opinion, is it doesn't meet the master plan," Planning Commissioner Brian Baxter said.
Sinan DeSilva wanted to transform and old garage into a medical marijuana grow and processing facility. He had support from neighbor Horace Jones.
"No I'm not wary," Jones said. "I think it'll increase the property value. Ours will go up too.
The commissioners did, however, approve DeSilva's application to rezone property in the 4300 block of Clio Road.
"We're going to clean it, provide security and we're going to lease it out to anyone who wants to build a medical marijuana grow or processing center," said DeSilva.
One of the current tenants, however, questions if that's a good fit with their paintball center.
The township board also will have to approve that recommendation from the planning commission for that to become official.
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