A pair of applications for medical cannabis greenhouses were discussed by Kingsville council on Monday, after calls from residents to stop these kinds of developments spurred a public meeting held last month.
Council voted to approve a pair of separate but similar rezoning applications along County Road 34, allowing the applicants to grow medical cannabis in existing greenhouses following site plan approval and licensing through Health Canada.
Both applications passed with Deputy Mayor Gord Queen as the lone vote against the first rezoning application, who was in favour of the second.
Residents packed council chambers at previous meetings and voiced worries about the smell that comes from growing cannabis, suggesting it could negatively affect property values.
Kingsville has now approved 11 area greenhouses to be rezoned for medical cannabis growth. There were more than a dozen applications made before the town stopped accepting them.
Steps in the process
Council's approval of the rezoning request does not mean cannabis plants will start sprouting in the immediate future.
"It would be roughly a minimum of a year," said Mary Fox, a consultant appearing on behalf of applicants Kapital Produce Ltd. and MOS Enterprise.
Both sites would require a site plan approved by town council to grow medical cannabis. The operators also require a license through Health Canada, which neither has secured.
Residents at the meeting in Kingsville on Monday aired frustrations about the cannabis odour and light pollution in the community, leading one councilor to call on all levels of government to increase controls.
"We expect to not smell like skunks and to not have lights blurting out the stars," said Coun. Kimberly DeYoung, who made a motion to accept the recommendation for the applications.
"We need to lobby this government for the same kinds of controls."
Odour, light controls
Both applications were deferred during a long council meeting on Oct. 9, 2018 when the public spoke out against these kinds of sites.
The rezoning requests were recommended for approval by Kingsville's planner and included a bylaw amendment that before growing cannabis, the operator must prove to the town the site will not create "perceptible marijuana odour" beyond the property line.
Coun. Thomas Neufeld said 99 per cent of the issues are with odour, light or both.
"Do we have the assurances whether it's through our zoning or through our site plan control that both the odour and the light can be controlled?" he asked.
Kingsville's interim town planner, George Robinson, referred to the town's bylaws about odour and light control.
"Short answer, yes," said Robinson.