As residents line up against a proposed medical marijuana dispensary, Beavercreek planning commissioners say they need more time to decide whether to allow one to operate in the city.
Commissioners voted to delay a vote on whether to approve Harvest of Ohio LLC’s plans to open for business at 4370 Tonawanda Trail.
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The commissioners will reconsider the decision at its next meeting, Sept. 5.
Two key questions were raised during last week’s well-attended public hearing: What will traffic flow be like with the new business, and how many people will visit the store on a daily basis?
Michelle Studebaker, who lives near the potential dispensary, said she sees how medical marijuana has many benefits, but she would rather see the business locate elsewhere.
“I think my biggest concern living in the little neighborhood is increased traffic, increased frequency of cars, and people coming through the neighborhood,” Studebaker said.
Burris & Co. CPAs, Inc., the nearest business to the proposed site, opposes Harvest of Ohio’s plans and has hired an attorney to represent their interests.
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Attorney Greg O’Connor told commissioners his client, Burris & Co., is funding a traffic study and asked that they delay their decision until they can see the results, which should be ready by Aug. 18. He said the potential business would send a lot more traffic every day through the residential neighborhood.
“This is not a good location for a medical marijuana dispensary,” O’Connor told the panel.
In Harvest of Ohio’s letter of intent to open a pharmacy in Beavercreek, 300 was estimated to be the highest daily volume of customers visiting the store, but during last week’s public hearing, Harvest of Ohio representatives said the “saturation” point would amount to 175 customers.
Planning Commissioner Tiffany Akers said the discrepancy between the estimates needs to be clarified before a vote occurs.
Harvest of Ohio LLC was created in 2011-2012 and holds medical marijuana licenses in seven states, according to CEO Steve White, who spoke at the meeting.
“Over the course of many states we have served hundreds of thousands of patients. We have transported literally tons of marijuana products. We’ve done so without a single security incident of any kind,” White said. “
White said the original estimate of 300 is not accurate. He said even at their busiest stores in other states, they do not reach 175 customers in one day.
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White said certain provisions in the state law will limit customer traffic at dispensaries. A patient cannot visit a store more than once a day and patients can buy up to 90 days of supply, he said. “”It is not something that is open to the public. It is not a place where you will see people congregating or loitering. It is not like that. It is a very strict program limited to people with very specific needs.”
City officials said commissioners can deny the permit if they conclude the business will be a “substantial, material detriment” to the neighborhood.