Lower Burrell wants to join a growing number of Alle-Kiski Valley municipalities who now have a say in where medical marijuana can be grown and sold.
Council last week introduced an ordinance that would amend the city’s zoning code and limit medical marijuana growing and processing activities to the city’s manufacturing districts.
Mayor Richard Callender said the change is needed because officials don’t want such facilities to pop up in the city’s main business districts along Leechburg and Greensburg roads. He said he’ll vote for it.
“I don’t think that you should have a growing facility next to a church, a business, a day care, a school,” he said. “I think that’s very important to keep that separated.”
Because the ordinance includes a zoning change, it must be reviewed by the city and county Planning Commissions so they can make comments on it, solicitor Stephen Yakopec said. Council must then hold a public hearing to discuss the ordinance before they can vote on it.
The proposed Lower Burrell ordinance says a medical marijuana dispensary may not be located within 500 feet of the property line of a public, private or parochial school; day care center; church or place of religious worship; or public playground or park. It also establishes parking spaces for both growers and dispensaries.
Councilman Robert Hamilton, who supports the proposed ordinance, said the city is trying to follow suit with regulations already in place for alcohol sales and microbreweries.
“It’s really us just trying to do our due diligence and assure it can’t be (grown) by schools,” he said.
Councilman Christopher Koziarski, also a supporter of the proposed ordinance, said the city wants to make sure the facilities aren’t by schools and churches.
“I’m in favor of business, but I’m also in favor of businesses in the right place,” he said.
The state legalized and implemented a medical marijuana program in April 2016. Since then, other Alle-Kiski Valley communities such as Harrison , Frazer , and Harmar have enacted similar ordinances to limit where medical marijuana can be grown and sold. Harrison passed its ordinance in February 2017; Frazer in December 2016; and Harmar in May 2017.