WEST CHESTER, OH (FOX19) - Tuesday will be the last of three opportunities for public input on West Chester's proposed zoning change that would keep medical marijuana businesses away from the township.
The township's Board of Trustees voted Nov. 14 to initiate the process of making changes to the Township's Zoning Resolution -- the legislative document governing community zoning. The proposed change incorporates language that will "not allow" medical marijuana cultivation, processing, and distribution as a permissible use in any of the township's zoning categories:
This action by the Board of Trustees does nothing to limit or impact voters' decision on a state level to legalize the use of medical marijuana. The action only addresses and prohibits the development of a facility for the cultivation, processing, and distribution of medical marijuana in West Chester Township.
The Ohio Revised Code allows for legislative authority of a jurisdiction to adopt a resolution to prohibit or limit the number of cultivators, processors or dispensaries in the community.
Based upon the allotment of dispensaries outlined in the State legislation, residents won't have to drive far to acquire marijuana for medical use.
The Board of Trustees action does not reflect a position on the value of medical marijuana in treating patients but rather is an effort to ensure the highest and best use of remaining developable commercial property in the Township in order to protect property values and further efforts to remain sustainable and competitive.
The first reading of Resolution 33-2017, initiating the process, was made at the Board's Nov. 14 meeting. A second reading at the Dec. 5 meeting moved the process forward, authorizing the Township Administrator to file an application to initiate and pursue the process to make the amendment to the Zoning Resolution.
The multi-level process takes several months, including public hearings before the Butler County Zoning Commission, West Chester Zoning Commission, and West Chester Board of Trustees on Tuesday.
Tuesday's public input session is the last of three prior to final determination of the amendments on Jan. 23.
House Bill 523, effective September 2016, legalized medical marijuana in Ohio. Learn more about the program here.