Evart Township grapples with marijuana development
Board previously voted to opt out of any marijuana facilities
EVART -- The Evart Township Board of Trustees continued its conversation regarding the possible annexation of township property by the city of Evart at its meeting June 2.
The city is asking the township to relinquish jurisdiction of property in the industrial park over to the city for purposes of expansion of a marijuana grow facility located there.
Township Supervisor Doug Derscheid has expressed concern over the possible annexation of the property for the purpose of expanding the marijuana facility.
"Since the township has opted out of allowing any type of marijuana facility within the township limits, this feels like an end around to that," Derschied said at a previous city council meeting.
Attorney Eric Williams told township board members, if they want to proceed with negotiations with the city of Evart, there are some questions he would recommend they get answers to first.
"If there is an economic development project constructed on Evart township property, the business owner or developer should come to the township and share information with them," Williams said. "I recommend, if you are going to continue with these discussions, you ask the owner or developer to come to the township board and explain the project."
Williams said some things they should know include, whether there will be a lease-back arrangement with the city for the property, what the public can expect in the way of increased job opportunities or wages and what the economic impact will be on the community.
"The township should be involved in those conversations," he said. "And any revenue generated from the agreement should be shared with the township."
Derscheid said he would like to know more about what the project is and how big it is.
"There are a lot of factors to consider," Derscheid said. "I don't like the project, in principle, but we have to look out for the best interest of the township. We would benefit from knowing more information, and I would like for the developer to come and address us in person."
Williams told the board they are under no obligation to say yes to the project, and they should listen to all the information before making a decision.
"They (the city and the developer) need you to make this happen," Williams said. "If it falls through, they are limited to petitioning the State Boundary Commission."
The board agreed to request that the developer attend an upcoming board meeting to disclose information about the planned development and the need for the annexation of the township property.
Williams said he would make the request to the developer. The next township board meeting will be at 7 p.m., July 17.