BERRIEN SPRINGS — The site plan for a state allowed medical marijuana grow facility on Shawnee Road has been approved by the Oronoko Township Planning Commission.
Commissioners OK’d the site plan submitted by Dan Van Treese of Pure Ventures for the facility, at their monthly meeting Tuesday night. Van Treese first came to the planning commission in February but didn’t have the proper site plan available until this month.
While Oronoko Township has opted out of allowing medical marijuana and recreational marijuana businesses, it cannot control medical marijuana grown by caregivers, which is the case here.
Van Treese is in the process of buying the Shawnee Road property from Jason Hippler. It is located in the former Exquisite Homes office building on Shawnee Road, behind the senior center.
Van Treese said earlier this year that the Shawnee Road building will be leased to a licensed caregiver raising plants for five patients. State law allows there to be 12 marijuana plants per patient in such a facility. He said the building will be locked down and secured and security cameras and other upgrades will be in place.
He assured planning commissioners that the site will be cleaned up, and commissioners made that a condition of their site plan approval. They said Van Treese must have the exterior areas of the site cleaned up within 45 days.
“There will be a 110 percent improvement over what’s been there,” Van Treese said.
When asked, he said that there will not be any chemical fertilizers or other hazardous materials used in the growing of the marijuana plants. He said he has marijuana- and hemp-related businesses in other states, and in at least six foreign countries. This is his first business in Michigan and he said he hopes to expand his operations here in the future.
Conditions imposed by planners included having the building and site subject to township fire, building and mechanical inspections, having proper ventilation and air filters in place, and meeting township parking and lighting requirements.
Van Treese cannot use carbon dioxide or other hazardous materials, can’t have outside storage, can’t do any extraction or processing of marijuana and he must have a caregiver who is registered with the state. Van Treese agreed to hours of operation of seven days a week, from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Also Tuesday, commissioners set a public hearing for their next meeting on July 2 at 7 p.m. to hear comments on a proposed special use permit change for the Verdant Hollow organic farm/retreat project. Commissioners approved a special use permit back in 2017 for the Grange Road property owned by Susan Flynn of Harbert.
Flynn said Tuesday that her plans have a changed a bit from what was originally proposed. While the project still focuses both on organic farming and welcoming guests on a short-term basis, she wants to break off a parcel from the total acreage to build a home for the family that operates the farm.