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Elyria Council OKs conditional use permit for second medical marijuana dispensary

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ELYRIA — Following a brief public hearing Monday, City Council voted 9-1 to approve a conditional use permit for Elyria’s second medical marijuana dispensary, a project of AFS Cultivation located at 603 Cleveland St.

Councilman Phil Tollett, D-4th Ward, was the lone no vote. He previously had said he was concerned that medical marijuana — which is strictly controlled under Ohio law but remains illegal under federal law — might put the city in a precarious legal position with federal authorities.

AFS plans to spend $1.5 million rehabilitating a former music store into a 3,600-square-foot medical marijuana dispensary, employing 10 to 25 employees making anywhere between $30,000 and $70,000 per year. AFS officials said they hope to open the doors sometime this spring or summer.

Tollett on Monday asked AFS President William Brothers if the shop would be selling any FDA-approved cannabis-based products such as Marinol, and how AFS’ products would be shipped to Elyria.

Brothers replied that the store would not be selling FDA-approved products and that a truck would deliver what products it does sell from an Ohio-based cultivator directly to the secure, locked facility.

Asked by Tollett if those transporting the products would be armed, Brothers replied: “Not to my knowledge.”

Elyria’s first and only other medical marijuana dispensary, The Clubhouse at 709 Sugar Lane, opened Feb. 22.

In other business

  • City Council approved a balanced $31.3 million budget for 2019, prior to its March 31 deadline.
    Elyria began 2019 with nearly $3.36 million in cash carried over from 2018, thanks to improved income tax collections officials said came primarily from new school construction revenue. That was double what Elyria carried over from 2017 into 2018, officials said.
    City income tax revenue was up 7.18 percent in 2018. Another $787,000 in surplus Issue 6 funds remain to be disbursed or carried over.
  • City Council unanimously approved a conditional use permit for the Buckeye Express Car Wash, which will be built by GND Ltd. on property at 801 Cleveland St.
    Eric Bilton, chief financial officer of National Pride Equipment in Ashland and Ohio Carwash Holdings LLC, said his company will demolish the former bank standing on the site and build the car wash itself, as it has with five other Buckeye Express Car Wash locations and eight car washes overall.
    Bilton said he hopes to open seven days a week by the Fourth of July, employing eight to 10 people and selling unlimited monthly wash passes “like a gym membership.” The location also will have free vacuums, he said.
  • New, more customer-friendly expanded hours for the city’s utility billing office have been “doing really well” and are so popular with residents that Safety Service Director Mary Siwierka said department heads are considering what other city offices might extend their hours.
    The most popular new hours have been Friday mornings, when the utilities office opens at 7:30 a.m., she said. She said the city’s Building Department also might be open later, perhaps until 6 p.m., during April, May and June when more building permits are being requested and processed.
  • Mayor Holly Brinda said the city is in the process of finalizing a new, improved city website which the public should see “within the next 30 days.”
Contact Dave O’Brien at (440) 329-7129 or do’brien@chroniclet.com. Follow him at @daveobrienCT on Twitter.


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