SEMINOLE – The Seminole City Council moved towards banning medical marijuana treatment center dispensing facilities within city limits.
The council voted unanimously in favor of the ban upon the close of the first reading of Ordinance No. 19-2017 at its July 11 meeting. The second reading, public hearing and adoption of the ordinance will take place Aug. 8.
Mark Ely, community development director, told the council that the city had three options in regards to these facilities. The council could choose to “do nothing,” which would allow dispensaries to open in any location that would allow for pharmacies; regulate dispensaries as the city would regulate pharmacies; or prohibit dispensaries from opening in the city.
Ely said that because of “the linear nature of the [city’s] business corridor,” which makes for “a narrow commercial corridor,” allowing dispensaries in the city becomes “a character of community issue.”
Many of the commercial properties along Seminole Boulevard are “sometimes 30 feet from the backyard of residential,” he added. Other commercial properties are also located too close to schools for dispensaries to be permitted.
Mayor Leslie Waters expressed concern that marijuana is still a schedule 1 drug at the federal level, in the same class as heroin and cocaine.
“I think the best thing for the city of Seminole, at the staff level, is to just prohibit them,” Ely said.
In other action items, the council also:
• decided to allow the grandfathering of a non-residential use for a building at the Lake Seminole Estates mobile home park. The building has been used for non-residential purposes since the early 1960s until the former Express Jewelry store closed in 2015.
When the jewelry store closed, however, “the abandonment clause kicked in and [the building] became abandoned,” Ely said.
He’s been working with the homeowners association at the mobile home park “to come up with a solution to allow this building be put back into productive use without land use and zoning changes,” he said.
Once the property is grandfathered, Lake Seminole Estates will have to bring the building up to ADA standards, improve signage and also provide landscaping before they can seek a tenant.
• waived the fees for the Seminole Historical Society for the rental of the Parkview Room at the Community Center for its speaker series Thursday, Nov. 16.
Andrew Carroll, director of the Center for American War Letters, will be the featured speaker that evening.
Carroll founded the Legacy Project, an initiative that honors veterans and active-duty troops by preserving their wartime correspondence.
The historical society anticipates that between 300 and 400 people will attend the presentation.
• approved the use of Capital Improvement Funds not to exceed $46,000 for the installation of playground equipment at Waterfront Park, located on Park Boulevard next to Home Depot.
The city is purchasing a piece of equipment called The Globe from the Berliner Play Equipment Corporation, which is the only company that manufactures the piece. This playground element will be the first of its kind in the state.
Recreation Director Becky Gunter said the piece, which she considers “playable art,” was chosen for its unique design.
“I came across this and immediately thought of this as an art piece,” she said.
The Globe will be installed on the east side of the park across from the proposed Ring of Honor and next to a future picnic area.
• set the date for the first public hearing for the proposed fiscal year 2018 budget. The hearing will be held Wednesday, Sept. 13, 6 p.m.
A tentative millage rate of 2.4793, estimated to be a 6.12 percent increase over the estimated rollback rate of 2.3363, has been suggested.