Township approves medical marijuana amendment

By Scott Halasz - [email protected]

BEAVERCREEK TOWNSHIP — Beavercreek Township Trustees unanimously approved a text amendment to the township’s zoning resolution Oct. 24, journalizing medical marijuana production and cultivation as an approved agricultural use.

The action follows a resolution passed in June in which the trustees ruled that production and cultivation was consistent with current uses in an A-1/Agricultural district. Tuesday’s vote was more of a housekeeping item, township officials said.

June’s resolution was necessitated when the township issued a zoning permit to Knox Medical, which has an application on file with the state to open a medical marijuana production and cultivation facility on land off Beaver Valley Road formerly owned by Siebenthaler’s. The state is expected to OK up to 24 such facilities in the state. There is currently one application on file for the township, and the text amendment specifically limits the number of facilities to one.

The township has yet to decide if it will allow dispensaries.

The vote came at the end of a more than two-and-a-half-hour meeting, during which many township residents paraded to the podium to express their concern about the potential for marijuana to be produced and cultivated in the area.

“This is a thriving community and Beaver Valley has always been considered a gem of this community,” said Jeff Karhoff. “That building that is going to be built there is not going to fit the nature of the environment around it.”

Karhoff also asked if a decision had already been made or if the residents could try and sway their vote.

“Am I here tonight to dissuade you from this parcel and this going on Siebenthaler’s property,” he asked. “Is that what we’re here to talk about tonight?”

When told no, he replied, “So this is a done deal, is that what you’re telling the citizens at this point?”

Annette Poth said she was disappointed that the real issue was decided in June and felt like it was “hushed.”

Josh Fensel said he is concerned with what could happen to the nearby neighborhoods.

“I have come across 10 families who said if or when this goes in, they are going to sell their homes,” he said. “I haven’t made that decision. Everyone knows you’re introducing a criminal element to the township that’s not here right now. If people can’t get into that facility … they might go for softer targets, meaning a lot of the really nice homes that are very nearby. People move out, the property values will go down. Property values go down enough, you’ll have people moving in who don’t much care about the criminal element. And if they’re people like that, my feeling is that they probably won’t much care about lots of other things.”

If approved by the state, the facility would be a larger facility, approximately 25,000 square feet on the 10-acre parcel. According to the township, all production and cultivation would be inside the building, which would be fenced in and have 24-hour security. Employees must pass FBI background checks and not all would have total access inside.

The product that leaves the site would be a powder or oil, and any waste would be used as a compost for future production.

Prior to public comments, Sheriff Gene Fischer gave his approval of the plan.

“I have no doubt that the security plans in place will be sufficient,” he said. “One of my questions would have been how often are we going to be at this facility. If that plans work as they have in place at other locations, I don’t think that the Sheriff’s Office will be responding there at all.”

He added that he sees no reason why it can’t be a “successful venture.”

By Scott Halasz

[email protected]

Contact Scott Halasz at 937-502-4507.

Contact Scott Halasz at 937-502-4507.