Vandalia imposes moratorium on medical marijuana

VANDALIA — Ohio’s new medical marijuana law goes into effect September 8, but no one in Vandalia should be rushing to get approval to sell or grow the drug.

That’s because the Vandalia City Council voted unanimously Monday evening to impose a 270-day moratorium that will allow the city to consider its options regarding cultivation, processing, and retail dispensaries.

Full meeting video is here:

Law Director Jerry McDonald and staff recommended the moratorium because the state’s Department of Commerce and Board of Pharmacy have yet to adopt rules and regulations as required under the legislation passed by the Ohio General Assembly.

“We aren’t too sure what they are going to say and there are a lot of issues involved with this type of use that need to be studied,” said McDonald.

The medical marijuana act does allow cities to prohibit or limit the number of cultivators, processors, or retail dispensaries. However, council “desires to have an understanding of the state’s regulations in order to make a better informed decision,” said City Manager Jon Crusey in his Friday Letter to council dated August 12.

The ordinance was passed as an emergency because the Sept. 8 effective date occurs prior to Council’s next meeting on Sept. 12.

During the council’s study session prior to the meeting, McDonald told council that the moratorium should be used for discussions by the Planning Commission and other entities in order to consider the issue thoroughly.

Council divided over curb openings

City Council narrowly approved a first reading of an ordinance that would change the Zoning Code to allow more than on curb cuts for some commercial and industrial properties. The curb cuts allowed would be determined by the amount of street frontage the property has and the posted speed limit of the street involved.

Some on council, including Richard Herbst, were opposed to the change, however, and preferred to consider each request for a variance to be considered individually.

“I’ve been battling back and forth on this one,” said Herbst. “Over the years I’ve seen variance requests come in for additional curb cuts where sometimes we approve it and sometimes we deny it. I really think it needs to be more of a case by case decision on some of these.”

Herbst said he did not want to see the city give up control of future projects and how they may impact the city.

Mayor Arlene Setzer agreed.

“I agree with Councilman Herbst on this,” she said.

Ultimately, so did Councilman Bob Ahlers, but the measure still had enough votes to pass by a 4-3 margin.

In other matters, council also passed an ordinance in its second reading to join the Montgomery County Land Reutilization Corporation, commonly known as the Land Bank. The Land Bank will give the city a tool to address tax delinquent and abandoned homes.

“I’ve been to a number of presentations about the effectiveness of the Land Bank program, and certainly if we can use it in our community it will do some good,” said Setzer.

Council also:

  • Appointed Deborah Barry to the city’s Bicycle Committee
  • Chose not to oppose a change of stock ownership at Max’s Sports & Spirits, Inc. which is doing business as the Hot Air Balloon at 400 E. National Road.
  • Approved an application to the Ohio Public Works Commission for grant and loan funding for the planned 2017 replacement of a water main on Kenbrook Drive. The project is estimated at $400,000 and the city will ask for one fourth of those funds to be granted and another fourth to be loaned to the city at zero interest.
  • Changed the membership criteria of the Cultural Arts Advisory Board to allow non-residents to serve on the committee. A majority of the board must remain citizens, and any non-residents serving on the board must either be employed in the City of Vandalia or be otherwise involved in the artistic community of another local community.
  • Approved a re-plat of 4.591 acres of land along Fieldstone Way to allow for the sale of the property to Manufactured Assemblies Corporation (MAC) for future growth and expansion. Funds from the sale will be used to pay down the principal balance on the Stonequarry Crossings Bond Anticipation Notes.
  • Approved the purchase of up to 2,000 tons of rock salt from Compass Minerals, Inc. at a price of $57.06 per ton. The bid is nearly $11 per ton less than last year’s price.
  • Approved a contract with Security Fence Group, Inc. Traffic Signals and Lighting Division to repair and replace equipment for a damaged traffic signal at National Road and Peters Pike at a price of $22,969.
  • Ordinances approved in their second reading included PUD Major Amendments at 20 Frances Lane (patio cover), 212 W. National Road (storage shed), and Enclave at the Falls to allow the builder to construct buildings 7 and 8.

The Vandalia City Council will hold its next regular meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 6 due to the Labor Day holiday. The meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. with a study session prior to the meeting at a time to be announced. Both meetings are open to the public.

Vandalia Law Director Jerry McDonald Law Director Jerry McDonald City of Vandalia Photo
Unknown state regulations, uncertainty cites as reasons for temporary ban

By Darrell Wacker


Reach Darrell Wacker at 937-684-8983 or on Twitter @VandaliaDrummer.