Voters Target Pot Dispensary Re-zoning Question in Okemos

By: Shannon Kantner Email
By: Shannon Kantner Email

The doctor who wanted to rezone a building across from Chippewa Middle School to open a medical marijuana dispensary has had a change of heart.

"We are no longer planning on opening a clinic," said Dr. Shannon Wiggins. "The building is for sale."

A little over a year ago, the Meridian Township Board approved her rezoning request for the clinic to be located at 4133 Okemos Road. That action upset a lot of residents, and led them to petition for a rezoning question on this year's ballot.

Their efforts are still going strong. A committee of parents has formed, and the law firm next to the property is making sure it doesn't turn into a medical marijuana clinic.

"We've been putting up a fair number of yard signs, and we have done some mailings as a committee, and we'll be out beating bushes and pounding on doors asking people to vote no," said attorney Steve Schultz, who works next door and is leading the voters opposed to the rezoning.

Dr. Wiggins said she feels attacked, and no longer has any interest in the building, other than selling it.

"It really really hurt my soul that someone would be so malicious," Wiggins said.

The community said they're concerned for their children and track record of Dr. Wiggins. She operates two other clinics in Lansing and has been questioned by the state for allegedly over-prescribing pharmaceuticals.

"We don't want to make this personal, it's the wrong person, and the wrong place," Schultz said.

Meanwhile, some people feel it's natural for the building to go from a residential zone to a professional zone because of all the other nearby businesses.

"It is surrounded by professional land there that is zoned professional," Wiggins said. "It is ridiculous that it shouldn't be professional."

If the proposal is voted down, the former daycare center could turn into anything. It would just require a special permit.

"This doesn't mean that that location can't be office or some other use, but it would have to go through a different process that would frankly allow the township to put restrictions and controls on the use of the property, and that's what we think is appropriate," Schultz said.

Even if the proposal is not approved, the building still has the potential to become a medical marijuana facility some day. Like Schultz explained, the township would have to approve a special permit for that.

Nearby businesses said they hope another daycare buys the property. That's what it was designed for and the playgrounds are still intact.

Voters will answer "yes" or "no" to the rezoning question on Tuesday's ballot.

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