Covington considers ban on medical marijuana facilities

Council holds first reading of possible prohibition

By Sam Wildow -

COVINGTON — The village of Covington is the next municipality in the area to consider outlawing medical marijuana facilities.

During their meeting Monday night, Covington Council held the first reading of an ordinance that would prohibit retail dispensaries, cultivators, or processors of medical marijuana within the village of Covington. This ordinance came as a recommendation from the Covington Planning and Zoning Board.

“It’s Planning and Zoning’s unanimous recommendation,” Village Administrator Mike Busse said.

None of the council members commented on the ordinance.

The ordinance will undergo two more readings before being voted on during the council’s meeting on Aug. 21.

While medical marijuana was legalized in September 2016, the Ohio medical marijuana program is expected to be operational by September 2018. The state adopted rules for cultivators of medical marijuana in May, but rules for processors, testing laboratories, dispensaries, patients, and caregivers are expected to be adopted in September of this year.

Also during the council’s meeting, a resident raised concerns about a vacant building, a former feed store located on the corner of Maple and Grant streets, and dilapidated trailers in a trailer park on South Main Street.

Mayor Ed McCord said that those structures are on their radar, but enforcing the zoning code can sometimes be a slow process.

“Sometimes it becomes very frustrating,” McCord said.

Busse said that they have had conversations with the current owners of the vacant building and the trailer park. Plans to do maintenance have been discussed, Busse said, but nothing concrete has happened yet.

“There’s an expense — a huge expense there —to remove that building,” council member Scott Tobias added later in reference to the vacant building.

In reference to the trailer park, Busse said the owner has mentioned plans to remove some of those trailers. Busse added that trailer parks are governed by a trailer park commission separate from the village zoning code.

“They don’t fall under the same guidelines as residential homes,” Busse said. “Trailer parks are very difficult to deal with as far as maintenance issues.”

Tobias added that trailer park commissions existed so municipalities could not arbitrarily remove trailers.

“We’re trying to find solutions,” McCord said.

Also discussed during their meeting was the village’s pending Ohio Public Works Commission (OPWC) applications. Brice Schmitmeyer of Access Engineering said that municipalities have to have three projects in the works so they always have a potential application. For the village, the first of those include blowers for the Wastewater Treatment Plant. The total estimated project cost is $250,000, and the grant the village is requesting is $125,000. If funded, the money would be available in July 2018.

The village’s next application would be for the State Route 48 Waterline and Sanitary Sewer Project, which would replace water and sewer lines on State Route 48 ahead of the reconstruction of High Street. The total estimated cost of the project would be $1 million, and the village would request a grant of $500,000 and a loan of $500,000. If funded, the money would be available in July 2019.

For the next round of OPWC applications, it would be the U.S. Route 36 Storm Sewer Project phase 1. If funded, the money would be available in July 2019. Future applications will include the reconstruction of High Street.

Later in the meeting, the council held the first reading of a resolution amending the records retention policy for the village. Busse noted that the last version of this policy prior to these updates did not have any mentions of emails.

The council also only voted on one item of legislation, approving the purchase of a sewage grinder replacement for the Wastewater Treatment Plant for the cost of $16,931.

Council holds first reading of possible prohibition

By Sam Wildow

Reach Sam Wildow at or (937) 451-3336

Reach Sam Wildow at or (937) 451-3336