In a time for leadership, a fail

We are in a pandemic, with thousands of businesses closing, millions of folks without jobs, and millions more about to have their unemployment benefits end.
And what do our City Council and Zoning Board of Appeals members do?
Say “no” to one of the few business ventures that is experiencing a boom.
At a special city council meeting Tuesday night, four out of six councilmembers voted to take the first step in banning legal marijuana operations from setting up their business here.
Last week, three out of six ZBA members rejected a zoning variance for a business venture on Caniff Ave. that is next to a gasoline station, right off of I-75.
(One ZBA member inexplicably abstained in the vote, which is usually reserved only for when a member has a conflict of interest.)
That variance request was to allow a building that is zoned residential to be rezoned for commercial use. Why it is zoned only for residential is a mystery.
The building was clearly built only for commercial use was once a laundromat, and then a computer/cellphone store. It has been vacant for a number of years.
The reason for the rejection?
Because it was believed, by some members, that the building would then become a retail outlet for legal recreational marijuana sales.
What are these decisions being based on?
Outdated fears that they would attract crime, or somehow entice children to become marijuana users.
Those debunked arguments are simply hogwash.
These retail marijuana outlets are more like boutiques that sell cannabis products at premium prices.
The folks who shop at these places are not your stereotypical neighborhood shady drug characters. These folks come to purchase their product, and then get in their cars and go elsewhere.
Oh, where might that elsewhere likely be?
Besides going home, it would be our local restaurants – well, at least the ones that can survive this latest COVID quarantine – shops, and other establishments.
A bare majority of council and ZBA members are having a kneejerk reaction to what they perceive to be widespread community opposition.
Again, hogwash.
Whether you like it or not, the marijuana business is legal in the state – just like bars and liquor stores.
And just like those businesses, it employs local residents.
With many restaurants may now be on the verge of closing down permanently, we are going to have a lot of folks in town scrambling for good-paying jobs.
With these actions, they are going to be denied those jobs, and more residents are going to be experiencing extreme financial hardships – and maybe even homelessness.
The city also needs all the tax revenue it can get, now that voters rejected a way to fund the city’s fire and police pension obligations, and also turned down ballot proposals that would have allowed the city council to explore ways to provide police and fire services at a lower cost.
It seems some in the community are determined to bankrupt the city.
These are tough financial times, and they call for true leadership – which requires making difficult decisions in the face of perceived opposition.
Instead, we have community leaders taking the easy way out, and being cowed by the loudest voices.
Posted Nov. 20, 2020

4 Responses to In a time for leadership, a fail


    November 24, 2020 at 3:03 am Use variance. The Board shall be permitted to grant by a two-thirds vote of the Board a use variance of the literal provisions of this Ordinance to a property owner provided that the property owner demonstrates *******all of the following*******:

    a. Showing of unnecessary hardship on the property owner if this Ordinance was strictly enforced. The landowner shall prove that the land cannot be put to a
    reasonable use or yield a reasonable return under its existing zoning classification.

    b. The hardship shall be unique or peculiar to the particular parcel and cannot be the result of general neighborhood conditions.

    c. There are exceptional or extraordinary circumstances or conditions applicable to the property involved or to the intended use of the property that do not
    apply generally to other properties or uses in the same zone.

    d. The variance is necessary to the preservation and enjoyment of a substantial property right possessed by other property in the same zone and proximity.

    e. The variance shall not result in the alteration of the essential character of the neighborhood by impairing an adequate supply of light and air to adjacent
    property, increasing traffic congestion in public streets, increasing the danger of fire, endangering the public safety, or unreasonably diminishing or
    impairing established property values within the surrounding area.

    f. The variance is a minimum variance that shall make possible the reasonable use of the land, building, or structure.

    g. The variance shall be in harmony with the general purpose and intent of this Ordinance and shall not be injurious to the neighborhood or otherwise
    detrimental to the public welfare


    November 24, 2020 at 3:07 am

    Unfortunately, the variance did not meet all these strict criteria dictated by ordinance itself.

    There is no need to criticize the board for applying the ordinance it was entrusted to uphold and enforce.

    It some think that the ordinance is too strict or that the area was wrongly zoned, then the council should address these issues.

  3. Disgusted

    November 24, 2020 at 2:11 pm

    Nasr, you made a dumb decision and you did it because of your religious beliefs and nothing else.

  4. Nasr Hussain

    November 24, 2020 at 9:24 pm


    Please try to used logical & well-reasoned argument to prove how the business seeking variance qualified for a variance based on hardship.

    The decision taken was based upon the zoning ordinance which a zoning board we have to follow.

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