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Lima Township Hall

By Lisa Carolin

Three topics dominated public comments at the June 12 Lima Township Board meeting – the medical marijuana licensing act, the proposed Huron Waterloo Pathways Initiative (bike path) along Dexter-Chelsea Road, and an site study of Lima Township Hall.

Supervisor Craig Maier announced news on the bike path having spoken with Jeff Hardcastle, chair of the HWPI Board of Directors, that morning. Hardcastle said that from the point where the railroad crosses Dexter-Chelsea Road east almost to Steinbach Road, the proposal is now to add a 3-4 foot shoulder on both sides of the road to Beacon Hill, ignoring the Boland corridor.

From the point of the railroad crossing on Dexter-Chelsea Road west to Freer Road, the proposed bike path would hug tightly to the railroad right of way and this revised plan has the Road Commission’s tentative approval.

Some members of the audience were dubious about the plan asking for some kind of written statement. Maier suggested to Hardcastle that he visit every property owner affected to get their input.

It’s expected that there will be another meeting about the bike path in July with representatives of HWPI attending, Maier said.

On the topic of the Medical Marijuana Licensing Act, Maier told the board, “My recommendation to this board is to do nothing until the state and federal governments get their ducks in a row. If we do nothing, it becomes illegal.”

Township Clerk Elaine Bater said, “This scares me. We don’t know what this law is going to do. This is an agricultural community not ready to jump on the bandwagon at this point.”

Several members of the public spoke against adopting an ordinance for reasons including what kind of people it might attract to the township and where dispensaries might be set up, and just one person spoke in favor of the Medical Marijuana Licensing Act saying it could bring financial benefits to the township and that it would help curb illicit sales.

If the board takes no action before Dec. 15, growing, transporting and dispensing medical marijuana will become illegal in Lima Township.

After a contentious discussion, the board voted 3-2 (Elaine Bater, Nanette Havens and Duane Luick voted no) against hiring Midwestern Consulting to get a survey and engineering study done on testing the property where Lima Township Hall is located to see what the options are available for future development.

The three dissented because they wanted there to be another bid in addition to Midwestern Consulting. The cost of the survey and engineering study would have been $17,800.

Those who commented from the public were in favor of trying to preserve the existing Lima Township Hall as an historic site.

“This room has a lot of dignity,” said Jason Eyster. “When you’re in here, you feel the majesty of the township. This is an historic structure.”

When resident Arly Spink asked the board about getting the word out to residents of Lima Township about the future of Lima Township Hall, Maier said that when the time comes that more information has been gathered about the options, there will be a meeting before any decisions are made. He also said that the board has been budgeting funds in a specific account for building costs, which would cover a significant portion of potential costs.

Board member Don Laier said that most of the people he knows in the township don’t see the value in preserving the existing Lima Township Hall building.

In other action, the board unanimously approved the adoption of a stand-alone ordinance it can amend that includes the schedule for civil infraction fines and sanctions for violations.

The board authorized a grant application to the state of Michigan for a new voting system that would arrive in time for the November election.

The board approved a private road application on the Calus property off Lima Center Road contingent on receipt of required documents no later than Aug. 1, 2017.

The board also approved the Michigan Townships Association adoption of Principles of Governance.

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