Webber township swears in new trustee

Ordinance for recreational marijuana adopted

WEBBER TOWNSHIP -- Sandra Clarke was sworn in as the newest member of the Webber Township Board of Trustees at the regular board meeting July 9.

Clarke will serve as interim trustee until the November election, at which time she will be running for State Representative.

She replaces former trustee Fred Warren, who passed away in June.

Warren was elected as a Webber Township trustee in 2000 and served in that capacity until his death. He was instrumental in establishing the Webber Township Fire Department and worked diligently to upgrade the Webber Township Cemetery.

Three candidates will be up for election for township trustee on the ballot in November - Dan Cousar, Nicole Oisten and Kevin Newell.

In other business, the board of trustees adopted the recreational marijuana ordinance recommended by the Webber Planning Commission, and a police ordinance regulating recreational marijuana facilities.

Webber Township Supervisor Ernie Wogatzke said it was necessary to adopt both the zoning and the police ordinance at the same time because they each regulate a different aspect of the recreational marijuana licensing.

"The police ordinance allows for recreational marijuana use and regulates how many facilities will be allowed," Wogatzke said. "We had a public input session to determine how many they wanted, and we adopted those public recommendations."

The zoning ordinance will regulate the types of licenses available and where recreational marijuana facilities can be located within the township and mirrors the already established medical marijuana ordinance.

It allows for licensing of three growers (class A, B, C) and three excess growers, three processors, two retailers, two microbusiness facilities, two designated consumption facilities, two event organizers/temporary events per year, two transporters, and two safety compliance facilities.

Recreational marijuana facilities will be allowed on the west side of M-37, in the light industrial, commercial and limited commercial zoned areas, according to the ordinance.

The ordinance sets a buffer of 500 feet from any school and public park or playground and includes an impact on neighboring properties provision that calls for buffers, barriers, facility separations, and other mitigation of annoying impact on surrounding properties protocols.

The board voted to opt out of recreational marijuana in November, because they did not have the necessary ordinances in place to regulate licensing and facilities.

"We needed to get all the regulations in place, because without them anyone would be able to establish whatever facility they wanted, wherever they wanted it," Wogatzke said. "We didn't want that to happen."

Wogatzke said the adoption of the two ordinances effectively opts the township into recreational marijuana sales and distribution.

The board also approved the construction of a 32 by 48 foot steel pole structure to be used for storage and ground maintenance equipment.

"We are using a lot of the hall for storage and we want to get it cleaned out so it can be used as an emergency shelter," Wogatzke said. "We plan to make one restroom ADA compatible and add a media room, and we will have sleeping, eating and restroom areas for an emergency shelter if needed."

The board plans to revisit the township recreational camping vehicle ordinance in upcoming meetings, Wogatzke said.

"We tightened up the ordinance last year, and we will be looking at how that has been going," he said. "We will be asking for public input on the ordinance, as well."

For information on how to participate in the board's virtual meetings, or to view the recreational marijuana ordinance, visit webbertownship.org or call (231) 745-3471.