PERRYSBURG -- Two potential code amendments that would ban growing, processing or selling medical marijuana in the city got a public hearing Tuesday night.
The hearing was held prior to council's regular meeting.
The amendments to the two portions of the city's code, Chapter 1215.02 -- Definitions, and Chapter 1225.08 -- Land Use Regulations, "would clearly indicate that the cultivation, processing, or dispensing of medical marijuana, even under license issued under Ch. 3796 of the Ohio Revised Code, is prohibited within" the city, according to a document on the proposed move. The document lists the city of Perrysburg as the applicant for the code amendments. The proposal was drafted by Law Director Karlene Henderson.
According to the document, the Municipal Planning Commission recommended the approval of the amendments by a vote of 6-0 during its April 27 meeting.
The matter is still a proposal and has not yet been presented as legislation for the consideration of council. During Tuesday's hearing, the proposal drew no questions or comments from council or the audience in attendance.
The document notes that Ohio House Bill 523, which went into effect on Sept. 8, legalizes medical marijuana in Ohio, and the Ohio Medical Marijuana Program "will allow people with certain medical conditions, upon the recommendation of an Ohio-licensed physician certified by the State Medical Board, to purchase and use medical marijuana."
The bill, it notes, does restrict the placement of retail dispensaries, and "cities, villages and townships may adopt additional regulations to prohibit or limit the number of retail dispensaries."
This is not the city's first move regarding medical marijuana.
Last month, council approved a temporary six-month ban on medical marijuana sales, processing and distribution in the city. At the time, Councilman Tim McCarthy said the move was "just a moratorium for a six-month period to consider what we do want to do."
Other communities have taken similar actions until state regulations on medical marijuana become clearer. In April, Perrysburg Township trustees approved a ban that will stand unless it is rescinded.
Council members also heard comment regarding a proposed rezoning request for 28001 W. River Road. The property contains a garage and is located just west of the Fort Meigs historic site.
Ohio History Connection, formerly the Ohio Historical Society, is the petitioner, seeking to have the land rezoned as institutional. It is currently zoned as single-family residential.
During the hearing, Planning and Zoning Administrator Brody Walters noted that the Planning Commission had a split 3-3 vote on the matter. He said public comments were heard by the commission regarding concerns on property values and potential uses of the property, linked to what would happen if Ohio History Connection, which is also seeking to purchase the land, would sell it. The Wood County Auditor lists the current owner as Gerald Bihn.
Fred Smith, manager for architectural services for Ohio History Connection, said they planned to transfer the title of the property to the state of Ohio and the intent would be to combine the property with the Fort Meigs property. It would be maintained by the Fort Meigs maintenance crew, he said.
Judith Justus, representing the nearby Spafford House Museum, was among those who commented on the matter. She said that in 2001 a dig uncovered a cemetery on the site, which she said was the location of the first family of Perrysburg's burial plot. She said additional burials remain, and asked that if Ohio History Connection becomes the owner, that they clean up overgrown vegetation on the site, do not allow a road on top of the graves, park equipment inside, and have a sign erected to discuss the history.
Mike Rawson, who lives behind the property, said he was concerned about what would happen if the property was sold by Ohio History Connection later. Smith said "our intentions as manager of the property would be never to sell it," but he said that could not be guaranteed.
The matter is to next be heard at council's Planning and Zoning Committee meeting this month.