Buchanan favors 'uptown' location for marijuana dispensary | Local … – South Bend Tribune

As one area Michigan community is opting to keep potential medical marijuana dispensaries out of its central business district, another might make room for them in its downtown.

The city of Buchanan has been working to finalize a proposed ordinance to regulate medical marijuana businesses and to also complete proposed zoning amendments in conjunction with the ordinance.

A question lingered over whether the city should allow dispensaries downtown, with a few people pushing for that option.

But Debra Patzer, who oversees planning and zoning for Buchanan, said the planning commission recently “reaffirmed” its zoning recommendation that would allow dispensaries in the newer commercial area “uptown” along Front Street, but not in the older “downtown” area several blocks to the west.

Patzer and City Manager Bill Marx say the recommendation is in response to concerns they heard from potential business owners, who said off-street parking and easy access in and out of buildings would be important to potentially physically impaired clients. The strip-mall commercial area could offer that, they said, while the older part of the business district can’t for the most part.

The decision could be revisited in the future, according to Patzer.

“I don’t think we’ve slammed the door on the downtown,” she said.

Meanwhile, the city of Niles could soon be looking at a proposed zoning plan that would allow dispensaries in its central business district as well as in the newer commercial area along South 11th Street.

Niles City Administrator Ric Huff said those provisions are part of the planning commission’s zoning recommendations, which are currently being drafted. He hopes the City Council could be reviewing that proposal within the next month as it works toward possibly adopting rules and

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