Matter will next go before city council

Proposed zoning ordinance changes intended to accommodate the medical marijuana industry have the support of the Hannibal Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z).

On a vote of 4-0 (one P&Z member was absent) the commission approved recommended zoning changes and a 400-foot setback from any school or church during Thursday afternoon's meeting at Hannibal City Hall.

The matter will now go to the city council. A public hearing on the topic is scheduled for 6:45 p.m. Tuesday, April 2, prior to the scheduled city council meeting.

Edie Price of the Hannibal Department of Public Works and Streets said the medical marijuana zoning proposal will not be taken up by the council during its April 2 meeting. A resolution on the issue will not be read at next week's council meeting, because the P&Z meeting occurred after the deadline to get items on the April 2 council agenda. Price added that the resolution could be given the necessary two readings during the council's Tuesday, April 16, meeting.

The ordinance changes approved by the P&Z would permit a cultivation facility, a testing facility, a dispensary for qualified patients and a facility where the product is processed. A medical marijuana operation would be permitted in areas zoned commercial, highway business and industrial. None of those facilities could not be established in areas zoned residential or in the historic district downtown.

The P&Z held a public hearing on the medical marijuana zoning issue before it took up the matter.

While a handful of citizens offered comments and asked questions, most did not deal with the matter the P&Z was to address in its meeting.

Before being brought to a vote, P&Z members briefly discussed the proposed 400-foot setback distance. Mike Dobson, a member of the city council who sits on the P&Z, said it would be the council's prerogative on whether to increase the setback distance or not.

According to the Amendment 2, unless allowed by local government, no new medical marijuana cultivation facility, testing facility, dispensary facility or infused-products manufacturing facility shall be located within 1,000 feet of any existing elementary or secondary school, child day care center or church.

According to a memo on the topic by former city manager, Jeff LaGarce, 1,000 feet is the equivalent length of three city blocks in downtown Hannibal.