The Beavercreek city planning commission has unanimously approved plans for a medical marijuana dispensary on Tonawanda Trail near Indian Ripple Road. Before the vote at Wednesday night’s meeting, several residents took the opportunity to weigh in on the issue, with many raising concerns about the dispensary and traffic issues it could cause.
Harvest of Ohio LLC made its pitch to the planning commission and a packed house of residents. “It will be a secure site,” said Ben Kimbro, director of public affairs for Harvest, Inc. “Also, they’re very clean, very nice-looking stores. They’re discrete.”
The company also presented the findings of a traffic study that predicts the business would cause minimal impact on local traffic and wouldn’t lessen the safety of roads in the neighborhood.
“I have a hard time in my 29-year career finding another facility that produced traffic this low,” said John Gallagher, traffic engineer.
But many neighbors at the meeting weren’t buying it.
“There’s too much traffic coming through from 675 through Tonawanda,” said Cynthia Ramsey, who lives in the neighborhood. “I see it all the time.”
Several people raised concerns about the dispensary operating in a residential neighborhood.
“If you can’t have a cannabis store within 500 feet of a school, you can’t have it within 500 feet of a church, then why is it appropriate to put one next to a house that could potentially have a child in it?” said Charles Miller, another neighbor.
There were a few people who expressed support for the dispensary, saying they don’t think local traffic will be affected.
“I don’t really see a huge issue when it comes to traffic since there’s other ways out of our plat,” said Denise Goffe, who lives in the neighborhood.
A neighboring business, Burris & Co. CPAs, Inc., commissioned another traffic study that predicted larger numbers of visitors to the facility and a greater impact on traffic. But officials with Harvest of Ohio dispute those findings since that study examined both medical and recreational marijuana facilities.
The planning commission added a condition to its vote Wednesday that the city and Harvest of Ohio will have to work together to address any potential traffic issues, according to Michael Self, a member of the planning commission.
According to Jeffrey McGrath, Beavercreek’s planning director, the next step for Harvest of Ohio involves obtaining routine permits relating to renovations and utilities before opening the dispensary.