Planning and Zoning Commission vote to rezone Pamida building

Steve Chapman

One hurdle cleared for medical marijuana facility, now aldermen decide
The Mt. Vernon Planning and Zoning Commission voted to recommend rezoning the property at 570 N. Spring Park Boulevard in Mt. Vernon, the location of the old Pamida building, from B-3 General Commercial to M-2 Heavy Industrial, clearing one hurdle for the creation of a medical marijuana growth facility.
According to unofficial minutes from the meeting, Ryan Moore, who applied for the rezoning change, said that if the commission approved the change and the state approved his application for a license, he would like to create a growth facility in the old Pamida building, adding that it would bring 42 full-time jobs and 10 part-time jobs into the city.
Dean Mikkelson, who owns an office complex that shares an entrance with the Pamida building said he had concerns that a fence would have to be built around the Pamida building, making it look like a prison. Moore said a prison would not be required for the facility. City Attorney Bill Petrus stated medical marijuana was a state issue and the commission was only meeting to rezone property.
After the public comments portion of the meeting, the commission voted in favor of the rezoning. The issue will now go to the Mt. Vernon Board of Aldermen for a vote; the commission’s vote serves as a recommendation to the board.
 In a later interview, Mikkelson said his concerns about the fence had been eased “to some extent,” but said he had other concerns about the facility. One, he said was how it would cause prospective home buyers to view Mt. Vernon.
“I’ve been a realtor for 41 years; 21 of those years here in Mt. Vernon,” he said, “and I’ve brought hundreds of people into Mt. Vernon and the surrounding community over the years. The vast majority of them have come to Mt. Vernon because they think it’s a nice, clean, Christian town, and it has a great school system and a fairly quiet community and an easy commute to Springfield, Republic, Carthage and Joplin for job opportunities.”
If a growth facility comes in Mt. Vernon, Mikkelson said he didn’t know “if having a marijuana growing facility in Mt. Vernon will have an impact on what perspective people considering Mt. Vernon (will think).”
Mikkelson said he was also concerned that the door to recreational marijuana was being opened.
“Every state that has done the medical marijuana in three to five years has done recreational as well,” he said, “and we have family and friends that live in Colorado and feel that it has had a very negative effect on the state, because of the recreational and … a fairly significant increase in accidents from the recreational use of marijuana."
Attempts to reach Moore for a statement were unsuccessful as of press time.


Lawrence County Record

312 S. Hickory St.
Mt. Vernon, MO, 65712


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