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Chelsea Council OK’s first reading of ordinance to prohibit recreational marijuana establishments

By Lisa Carolin

The decision whether to allow or prohibit state-licensed recreational marijuana establishments in Chelsea drew a number of people to the March 4 City Council meeting.

Michigan voters approved Proposal 18-1 on Nov. 6, 2018, which legalized recreational marijuana. Every municipality is presumed to allow recreational marijuana businesses unless it takes action to opt out.

At the March 4 meeting, Chelsea City Council members voted 6-1 (Rick Catherman against) to accept a first reading of an ordinance to prohibit marijuana establishments in the City of Chelsea, and placed the second reading on its March 18 agenda.

That followed a public hearing and a number of comments from the public, all of whom were against recreational marijuana businesses being allowed in Chelsea. Among them were Reilly Curran, regional director of SRSLY, along with members and staff. Their biggest concern was the use of marijuana by youth, saying it has a negative effect on memory, learning, and brain development.

Other local residents spoke of higher youth usage rates of marijuana in states like Colorado where recreational marijuana is legal as well as drug-related crime increases.

Matt Jordan suggested waiting for the law to develop and looking at how other cities are handling it before allowing it in Chelsea.

In other business, thanks to a surplus of Federal aid for projects related to the Washtenaw County Road Commission and the Western Washtenaw Value Express, the City Council unanimously approved spending $32,000 on an engineering proposal bid for Midwest Consulting and separately approved an additional 10 percent be set aside. The money could be used for a City of Chelsea non-motorized project in the amount of $98,730 ($79,000 in federal funds and a 20 percent local match of $19,750).

Sidewalk infills and pedestrian island locations on Freer Road, Dexter-Chelsea Road, Wilkinson Road, East and West Middle Street, and portions of Sibley Road are among the proposed possible uses of the funds.

The City Council unanimously approved an amended resolution for a liquor license request by Warriors Management, Inc., which is owned by Jason Povlich, who plans to open three restaurants-Grateful Crow, at 420 N. Main St., Chelsea Roots Cafe, at 518 N. Main St., and Clock Tower Creamery, at 52 N. Main St.

The State of Michigan’s Licensing and Regulatory Affairs told Warriors Management, Inc. that it needed to add address and licensing information to the initial application, which the city council approved in May 2018.

Samuel Angus, whose term on the Parks and Recreation Commission expired March 1, was unanimously approved by the council to be appointed to a 4-year term to expire March 31, 2023.

An ordinance to amend the Chelsea Zoning Ordinance regarding a PUD district being exclusively used for single family residential purposes where the maximum lot coverage cannot exceed 35 percent, was sent back to the Chelsea Planning Commission due to concerns about language. The vote was 4-3 against approval.

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