City council debates permitting pot shops in downtown

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Blake Bacho

| The Monroe News

Monroe City Council continues to take into consideration permitting a handful of retail recreational marijuana facilities to operate inside city limits.

But exactly where these companies would be positioned inside the city continues to be a sticking point.

Council discussed its ongoing efforts to establish a marijuana ordinance in the course of a virtual operate session held Saturday morning. The bulk of the two-hour-extended session was spent discussing retail recreational marijuana facilities particularly, with council largely agreeing that they are not presently interested in permitting the extra industrial companies, such as processing plants or develop homes, inside city limits.

City Manager Vince Pastue explained that, primarily based on earlier conversations with council and the lack of proper parcels of land inside the city, retail marijuana companies could primarily only be placed in the downtown region or along Telegraph Rd.

Councilman John Iacoangeli previously floated the concept that the cannabis market could be a boon to the city’s efforts to revitalize its downtown, and he reiterated this belief Saturday.

“We must concentrate on locations exactly where we want to see financial improvement,” Iacoangeli stated. “Whoever puts a shop in is going to invest income on redeveloping the shop, make it appear good, and we can have style requirements that would demand them to do that. The bottom line is we have an chance right here…”

Not every single council member shared Iacoangeli’s enthusiasm for welcoming the recreational marijuana business enterprise into the downtown. Councilman Brian Lamour acknowledged that he is not only thinking of the situation from his point of view as a council member, but also as the owner of Lamour Printing Business, which is positioned in the downtown.

“I’m undoubtedly not in favor of possessing something (to do with marijuana) in Downtown Monroe,” Lamour stated. “I’m not prepared to sell my soul to that, to be truthful with you… If you want to place a marijuana shop appropriate subsequent door to me, I’m not going to be a really content business enterprise owner, I’ll inform you that.”

Mayor Robert Clark also balked at the concept of permitting pot shops downtown, citing a current conversation he had with members of the Monroe County Chamber of Commerce’s Leadership Monroe Plan, who indicated to him that they have been against the concept.

“In reality, they had tenants hunting to come in that are on hold pending this selection,” Clark told council. “…If we have business enterprise partners presently that are beginning to move forward (with redevelopment), that must be thought of as effectively. I personally am not in favor of it in the downtown, I assume that there’s… (a) larger and far better use.”

Councilman Andrew Felder stated that he had a discussion with Downtown Monroe Company Network President Chip Williams, who told Felder that he had surveyed numerous of the downtown business enterprise owners and they largely objected to the concept of a retail marijuana facility in the downtown. Pastue stated that though there have been no formal comments to the city or city council from business enterprise owners against the concept, he has heard “anecdotally” that there are business enterprise owners who are not in favor.

Iacoangeli took umbrage with these business enterprise owners who he felt have been objecting to one thing that could advantage them and the city.

“They’re just promoting a item that is nearly like an herb,” Iacoangeli stated. “It does have an odor, but not when promoting it versus smoking it, then you have a unique variety of odor. It is sort of exciting that it is discounted appropriate away without having even hunting at the several possibilities or potentials, or regulations that could be place in spot.”

Iacoangeli also noted that there are properties inside the downtown exactly where a retail marijuana facility could be positioned that wouldn’t place them in close proximity to any residential properties, with the exception of a couple of upper-story apartments positioned inside the downtown. He stated that is not the case along Telegraph Rd., exactly where the facilities would nearly undoubtedly back up against residential neighborhoods.

“The downtown tends to make excellent sense,” Iacoangeli stated. “It’s all industrial, there’s not a lot of residential, at least single-household (residential). Persons have to park and stroll to get to it, and we can get a creating renovated. We’ve got a ton of these to get renovated, and I do not assume it will take place naturally. It hasn’t occurred because I’ve been on council, the exact same buildings are just sitting there from the final eight years.”

But Clark and other council members reiterated that these who personal or operate companies inside the downtown want to be heard just before the city tends to make any choices relating to marijuana that could have an effect on them.

“We have these buildings that are not receiving renovated, but I assume of all of the ones that have been carried out,” Clark stated. “That’s folks that have invested in the downtown, and I assume of their thoughts. If it is impacting their willingness (for) extra renovation, I assume we must take into consideration that.”

“I agree that we want to uncover out the why from the business enterprise owners downtown,” added Councilwoman Michelle Germani. “From a retail standpoint, in the establishments that I have noticed, they’re really sophisticated and they have great safety measures. They’re tasteful inside. From a retail standpoint, it would drive targeted traffic downtown and it would enhance business enterprise down there…

“But I assume we want to listen some extra to the companies and uncover out the why.”

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