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A decision whether to allow marijuana retail establishments in South Haven Township passed during Tuesday’s general election, while voters in Breedsville decided they want to retain their village.

South Haven Township voters decided 892-752 to approve a referendum proposal to let marijuana retail establishments exist in the township, according to unofficial results released late Tuesday evening by Township Clerk Brenda Bertorelli.

The voters’ decision in South Haven Township now paves the way for marijuana retail businesses to operate within the township.

With the voters’ approval, the township will be able to allow a minimum of three adult-use marijuana retail establishments to operate in commercial areas of the township. Bertorelli indicated the township board will first need to approve an ordinance stipulating regulations marijuana retail shops must adhere to in order to operate.

If there are more than three establishments that want to locate in the township, the proposed referendum ordinance would allow the township board to place a moratorium on new businesses or allow them to proceed on a case-by-case basis.

The ballot issue on whether to allow marijuana retail establishments began earlier this year when South Haven Township resident Andrew Newell led a petition drive to override a portion of a township ordinance – passed four years ago – to prohibit marijuana retail businesses from operating within the township.

Newell gathered 126 valid signatures from South Haven Township registered voters in September to force the referendum vote.

Staying a village

Meanwhile, in the Village of Breedsville, residents voted 425-356 to retain status as a village, rather than incorporate as part of Columbia Township, according to unofficial results late Tuesday from the Van Buren County Clerk’s office.

The issue came about as part of a referendum petition brought about earlier this year by a Breedsville resident, marking the second time that Breedsville voters have been faced with determining whether to retain the village governance structure.

Longtime Van Buren County Commissioner Richard Godfrey, R-Bloomingdale, held off Democrat challenger John Wagner of Paw Paw, 3,109-1,866 for the District 4 seat, according to unofficial Tuesday results.

Godfrey, 79, has served on the Van Buren County Board of Commissioners since 2010, and also served as chair of the board for most of those years.