Kimball Township Planning Commission
Kimball Township Municipal Office
2160 Wadhams Rd., Kimball Michigan
August 24, 2021
Open Meeting: Orr opened the meeting at 6:30 p.m. with the Pledge of Allegiance.
Roll Call of Members: Orr, Barrett, Hoffman, Miller, Henry, Howard and Tuttle.
Also Present: Neil Erickson Building Official, George Jackson Treasurer, Becky Wrubel Clerk, Karen Deland Trustee and Township Attorney Greg Stremers.
Approval of Agenda-Regular Meeting
Barrett motioned to amend the agenda: Move Audience Participation III, Old Business IV, and New Business V. supported by Henry. Motion Carried.
Barrett motioned to approve the agenda as amended supported by Henry.
Approval of the Minutes June 22, 2021
Barrett motioned to approve the minutes of June 22, 2021 supported by Tuttle.
Greg Stremers, Attorney: Let the audience members know that he is here to get recommendations and answer any questions you may have.
Candace Bradley, 7330 Smiths Creek Road: I have been looking through other ordinances that other townships have. One of the things that I would like to have added to the Kimball Township ordinance is to have whoever is the caregiver of that property needs to reside on that property.
Kristina Nelson, 7263 Smiths Creek Road: Regarding the property at 7264 Smiths Creek Road was approved in 2003 to be a condominium. The deed was registered in 2003. The property itself was to be divided into four units.
Orr: We can’t do anything about zoning. This board has to put the ordinance in place.
Nelson: How did it come about that a plan for a condominium got changed to a grow barn?
Orr: I can’t answer because I don’t know anything about it.
Nelson: The Township should have that plan on file. If that plan doesn’t have a grow house on it, is he still able to put a grow house on it since it was specifically designed to be split for condominiums?
Orr: We don’t even have an ordinance yet.
Nelson: The barn that is out there has nothing to do with the plan that would have been submitted to the township.
Orr: But that is not why we are here tonight. We are not the zoning.
Nelson: What are you?
Orr: We’re the Planning Commission.
Nelson: But isn’t that part of the Planning Commission?
Barrett explained about all the boards and the Condominium Act.
Nelson: Are you allowed to work outside of the plan that was already approved by the township?
Barrett: I don’t know because I don’t know what the plan says.
Hoffman: If it was set up for condominiums back then and it being in agricultural out there, wouldn’t it have automatically have switched over to multi dwelling?
Barrett: I’d have to look in regards to what the 2002 says and what was allowed and what wasn’t allowed at that time when they came with a condominium plan for approval. That would be a zoning question.
Nelson: Do we have a way to legally change a plan?
Orr: We don’t know and that is why our lawyer is here.
Barrett: We will go and look at the plan to see what it says.
Sherry Simpson, 7340 Smiths Creek Road: Proposed Ordinance, Section 6, Part F., page 10. Would like the ordinance to have in it that a grow house should be at least 500 feet from parks, places of worship and playgrounds. Another suggestion that should be in the ordinance is that grow barns should have city water and sewer so we won’t have trouble with our wells.
Matt Crowe, 7261 Smiths Creek Road: How did we go 13 years and we don’t have one ordinance in place?
Barrett: We have a medical marijuana one.
Crowe: For Kimball Township?
Barrett: Yes. For Medical Marijuana Dispensaries. We passed a Medical Marijuana Compassion Center Ordinance on December 07, 2010 and it was Ordinance #142-51.
Crowe: I’d like to have in the ordinance not to have the grow houses with caregivers in agriculture around properties adjacent that are being used as residential. How did the neighbors not hear about this?
Orr: People building a house don’t have to let the neighbors know that he is building a house.
Neil Erickson: There is no special exception use in place right now. They can only have 72 plants and they go through 50 gallons of water. There is no floor drain and nothing goes into the ground. The barn is 40′ x 60′.
Crowe: Who regulates the grow barn?
Erickson: The Fire Marshall and myself.
John Koercher, 4964 Griswold Road: I’d like to know what is going on with Ordinance 20-409 of 2010. It was supposed to prohibit Medical Marijuana in Kimball Township. I have one house east of me, less than 80 feet. I have about a 40 x 50 grow going in. This information came from the Detroit Edison.
Orr: Have you notified Neil Erickson?
Erickson: Compassion Centers are for sales.
Barrett: It’s in the ordinance in regards to definitions. Number one is definitions, then read letter F. That is the definition under such ordinance of what a Compassion Center is.
Citizen: So are you able to grow and sell in these grow houses?
Citizen: So then doesn’t that become commercial?
Lawyer Greg Stremers: I hear the residents’ frustration with this. I am equally frustrated with this. I have been dealing with this since 2008. The Medical Marijuana industry pass these ordinances in my view as a guide. There is no Federal/FDA mandate.
The Medical Facilities Act was an act that was passed by the State of Michigan. These facilities are heavily regulated. All of my communities, I represent over 20 of them, are having the same problems as you. The reason this wasn’t done recently is because we couldn’t. It had to go through the Supreme Court and it just came through the Supreme Court in December of 2020 and we have to wait a while after that because of the Medical Marijuana Act. What the Medical Marijuana growers are doing is taking caregiver cards. The original Act of 2005 says you can grow 12 plants for yourself and then you can have five patient caregiver cards and grow 12 plants for each patient totaling 72 plants. The industry of people that grow these are buying up property all over St. Clair County and Sanilac County and they are growing. They are coming in and buying up any barn they can find and blowing up transformers. We as a township are limited and pre-empted by what the state law allows us to do.
In December, the Supreme Court reversed the Court of Appeals. All the courts said that we can’t regulate and we can’t do anything with these caregiver cards. They had a right to grow. They cannot penalize anyone if they are growing under own caregiver card.
We need to help this board with recommendations for an ordinance.
Barrett asked Stremers to simplify the three laws. Number one being the 2016 the Medical Marijuana Facilities Licensing. The township opted out so that’s a moot point right?
Barrett: The Medical Marijuana Law that was approved by the voters back in 2008 or 2006 which is what we will be talking about. Then there was the Recreational Marijuana Law that was passed by voters in 2018 which the township opted out which is also a moot point. We are talking about an individual bases associated with Medical Marijuana back from 2008 and how are we going to handle that regarding individuals on their private needs and those that are wanting to have themselves and five other caregivers under their care.
Stremers: The legislator had a big fight about this and they did not pass a law from 2008 to 2016. The one issue they could not agree on was caregivers. And now we are.
Barrett: We have a lot of agricultural zoned property west of Wadhams Road. As a result, it is being used as residential use. It is not zoned residential. We have multiple zoning districts and we have three residential districts.
Stremers: For a caregiver, marijuana has to be grown in a locked facility, out of sight.
Koercher: Caregivers are not commercial. They are growing under Caregivers Act to act like commercial growers.
Stremers: You need to call your Legislature who is Pam Hornberger and our Senator Dan Lower.
Steve Weaver, 34600 Pratt Road, Memphis: I’m chair of the Planning Commission there and we are experiencing the same issue. I am meeting with our attorney to revise the language that our Planning Commission drafted recently. We did okay a Marijuana Dispensary but as you all know there are a number of different laws. If you plan on drafting an ordinance in your township with residents not crazy about having commercial growers coming in, it would be a nightmare.
Miller: Questioned if the 72 plants were for personal consumption.
Stremers: It’s personal consumption for the card holder and then five for the patients.
Miller: Can they be taxed?
Stremers: Under the Facility Care Act they can be taxed.
Matt Crowe: I cannot understand what he asked.
Orr: I was not aware of that. We aren’t made privy of that information.
Stremers discussed more information about the Medical Marijuana Facilities.
Neil Erickson: Does that have to go to the Metro Planning at all?
Stremers: Yes. It’s a zoning ordinance.
Hoffman: So the fire chief has to be involved in it. It’s a business but not a business. Would they be considered Personal Property Taxes?
Stremers: It could be Personal Property Taxes if they have the equipment and things. What you could do with a Special Assessment you could have site plans and have the fire chief approve the site plan. You can also have the building inspector, electrical inspector, plumbing inspector come in and inspect the site plans.
Barrett: It would have to exceed the $80,000.00 in value.
Can you write an ordinance that specifically says you cannot have a stand-alone accessory structure on an agricultural zoned land due to the fact of a Medical Marijuana intended use?
Stremers: I think we can.
Barrett: The areas west of Wadhams Road is zoned Agriculture and the area east of Wadhams Road is zoned Residential so we are going to have to include both of those zoning districts in our conversation but we are going to have to be sensitive that we still have some traditional agricultural zoned areas where there are no homesteads.
Stremers: That is a big issue.
Robert Thomas, 2493 Range Road: Retired Veteran, 100% disability. The people in the township that are concerned about the Medical Marijuana need to get together and contact Lisa McLain and ask her for her resources to find out the bigger organizations and their lawyers. Get the paperwork going, organize and then check with the township lawyer.
Citizen: Concerned about the caregiver being able to sell their products to the public.
Stremers: The Act does not let the caregiver sell the product.
Crowe: What is the property owner’s status as far as permits?
Neil Erickson: There is a building permit for the barn that is being built. There is a building permit stamped on my desk that hasn’t been paid for because the supervisor asked me to hold it. They bought the property based on the zoning which is agriculture. They bought their lumber based on the building that could be built and they had their permit in here that was approved and is on my desk.
Orr: What size is the building?
Erickson: 40′ X 60′. And then redo the house.
Barrett: So there is a house on that property.
Erickson: That’s the two permits of the four. Then there is a third one that is paid for by the same one who has a building being constructed. He has a separate lot and he is just holding on to it.
Citizen: That house is on a separate piece of property.
Barrett: For clarity, of the four units on Smiths Creek Road, unit 4 has the house?
Erickson: Unit one has the house.
Barrett: Who is unit 4?
Erickson: Unit four is farthest West and that is owned by the one that owns unit 3. Number one is owned by the person who owns the Smoke Shop in Port Huron on Union and 10th Street. Unit two isn’t sold yet that I believe.
Crowe: I filled out a FOIA request to find out the name of all four parcels. Where are we with that?
Erickson: It takes ten days to get that in. It should be ready on Friday.
Barrett: It’s on the county website.
Sherry Simpson: I thought they told us that they had the permit for the one barn and the other three were put on hold because of the moratorium. Is that right?
Erickson: There is a permit on my desk that was put in before the moratorium and approved. That’s up to legal now.
Barrett: Here in Kimball Township if I’m in an agricultural zoned parcel of land and there is no home, I am allowed to build an accessory structure.
Erickson: That is correct.
Barrett: Whether, and if, I am in traditional agricultural use for such structure under State Law I don’t have to pull a permit.
Erickson: That is correct but they pulled one anyways. They put right on it that it is for a grow house.
Barrett: I just want everyone who is here to know that the people that live on Smiths Creek Road, you are zoned agricultural. I know that there are homes there but it is not zoned residential.
Orr: Explained that this isn’t going to be easy and it won’t be done tomorrow. It will take some time.
Eric Fontaine, Burns Road: Are they going to be getting electricity from the lines or are they going to be bringing in generators?
Stremers: I don’t think the 2010 Ordinance is good anymore. I will look into it more and let you know.
- REZONING: 74-25-112-0001-000 4515 11th Street. Black
Barrett motioned to receive and file supported by Tuttle. Motion Carried.
- REZONING: 74-25-112-0001-000 4515 11th Street. Black
- Draft MMA Ordinance
- Draft MMA Ordinance
- Bill Orr, Watershed
I have no watershed report.
- Bill Orr, ZBA
We gave a Class A designation to Patricia Campbell who lives on Main Street in Smiths Creek.
- Erik Hoffman, Kimball Township Board of Trustees
- Bill Orr, Watershed
Barrett: I would like to formally request the information in the file from township staff about Smiths Creek Farm Condominium.
Orr: You can and we will.
Miller motioned to adjourn the meeting at 8:17 p.m. supported by Hoffman.
Meeting adjourned at 8:17 p.m.
Submitted by Bill Orr, Chairman Planning Commission.