City Council met on Monday and completed the first of two steps to increase the number of marijuana licenses in the city, approved Berkley Days, and approved upgrades to DPW facilities.
The Public Works facilities will undergo a $1 million upgrade. This adds space for the workers and provides much needed modernization.
Berkley Days and related events will be held this year between May 12 and 15. They are always looking for more groups or individuals to volunteer. Proceeds from the event are split between volunteer organizations that help. You can find more info at berkleydays.org.
Council passed the first of two votes required to increase the number of marijuana licenses in the city from three to five. Voting in favor of five licenses were Terbrack, Dean, Price, and Vilani. Voting against were Baker, Gavin, and me.
The desire to increase the number of licenses came about because there is a three-way tie for third place. The ordinance calls for a lottery to assign licenses should there be a tie.
While there are many reasons I believe we should stay with three licenses, I'll highlight what I feel is the most important one.
This process is new to all of us. It is already clear after the first applicant went before the Planning Commission that our parking standard is inadequate. There may be other deficiencies that will only be revealed with time.
Once a property is approved and the license is granted, there is no going back. Zoning law does not allow us to force stricter requirements on existing businesses. Any problems will be there for as long as the dispensary exists.
And unlike most other communities, every business in Berkley abuts a neighborhood. Any negative consequences will have a much great impact on residents here compared to cities that can place dispensaries in out of the way commercial or industrial districts.
I would rather we start with three licenses as originally planned, learn from that, and if we desire more dispensaries in the future, we can make necessary adjustments.
Before this goes into law, there must be a second vote. That will likely be held on Monday, March 21. You can make your thoughts know by contacting city council at [email protected] or by attending the meeting on the 21st at 7pm.
You can click the image below to see an interactive map of the top five locations.
The meeting packet.