By Mike Kruzman /

The City of Brighton’s Planning Commission began its task of identifying spots that marijuana-related facilities might fit into the zoning map.

Earlier this month, City Council held a special meeting where they ended up asking the Planning Commission to identify where a pair of recreational marijuana dispensaries and testing centers could be located, should they choose to opt-in.

That process began Monday night when the Planning Commission was joined with Planner Jill Bahm and attorney Laura Genovich. Bahm and Genovich gave short presentations on the types of ordinances required, how other cities have tackled opting into allowing facilities, and legal issues that are coming up.

Though no Planning Commissioner spoke in favor of allowing or wanting any marijuana facility in Brighton, it was noted that City Council still wanted feedback on areas they could end up situated in. Trustee and Board liaison Jim Bohn cautioned against what happened in the Village of Pinckney when an outside group came in and forced a ballot initiative. It was passed by voters and forced the Village’s hand. The thought in Brighton is that passing an ordinance could raise the chances of keeping the situation in City Council’s control, and not an outside group’s. When it was suggested that Brighton voters would not pass a ballot initiative, Bohn pointed out that City voters did vote in favor of legalizing recreational marijuana in 2018.

The only state requirements are that they may not be located in areas zoned exclusively residential, or within 1,000 feet of a K-12 school unless the municipality adopts an ordinance reducing the distance.

Planning Commissioners had multiple maps with bubbles drawn around schools to help visualize. They also noted an interest in keeping the facilities out of the downtown business district and then considered other areas to avoid. Those areas were near churches, parks, and other places children may frequent, like daycare centers.

Chairman Matt Smith said that it looked like maybe 7 zoning locations could be on the table, based on restrictions.

Planning Commissioners also discussed wanting to consider traffic and parking, making certain there is no consumption on the premises and odor mitigation. The Planning Commission is going to revisit this in upcoming meetings, with maps updated based on Monday’s guidance with a goal of having something to present to the City Council within 2 months’ time.