Three Rivers’ marijuana dispensaries moratorium gets appeal process

The City of Three Rivers placed a moratorium on accepting additional applications for marijuana dispensaries back in November. After concerns were raised regarding applicants who may have been unable to finalize plans prior to the moratorium being set, the commission decided to implement an appeal process as well.

On November 1, the Three Rivers City Commission adopted a motion to place a moratorium on accepting new Special Exception Use (SEU) permit applications for marijuana retail locations through January 1, 2023. The moratorium came to pass after a number of SEU permits for dispensaries were approved, and commissioners expressed concerns about the city be inundated with that particular kind of marijuana facility.

The appeals process is meant to provide individuals who intended to submit an SEU permit application but didn’t get around to it before the moratorium. A person can win their appeal if they can prove they “incurred significant financial and business expense in securing an option, lease or ownership of real property in Zoning Districts B-1, B-2 OR B-3 of the city prior to November 1, 2021 for the purpose of establishing a recreational marijuana retail facility, and/or incurred substantial costs directly related to qualifying for a SEU permit for a retail recreational marijuana facility prior to November 1, 2021.”

On Tuesday, December 7, commissioners established a deadline of January 7, 2022 for any individual or group interested in filing an appeal with City Clerk Stephen French, and for presentation to City Manager Joe Bippus, who will determine wether the appeal should be granted or denied. Prior to Tuesday’s meeting, five marijuana dispensaries had been approved by the commission, and another two were approved on Tuesday, including one at 1601 S. Main St. and another at 691 S. US-131, with more applicants still in the pipeline.

With seven dispensaries already approved and more potentially on the way, the City of Three Rivers could be home to more than 10 recreational marijuana dispensaries by the end of the aforementioned appeal process.

Alek Haak-Frost is executive editor of Watershed Voice.