OTTAWA — While the subject of green space is a nothing new to Ottawa’s village council, during their regular meeting on Monday, members took the discussion in a whole new direction: medical marijuana dispensaries.

“It looks like someone has their eye on us for potentially opening up one of those places,” Village Solicitor Joe Schroeder advised council.

At present the State of Ohio has permitted 57 such dispensaries, clustered primarily in more urban areas. However, last April plans were released to more than double that number, with the state moving to authorize another 73, bringing the total to 130 state-wide. The near-doubling of licensed dispensaries not only created competition, but a a welter of applications for dispensaries in more rural communities.

As with other neighboring municipalities, legislation was presented to council prohibiting the permitting of cultivation, processing or retail distribution of medical marijuana within village limits. On the first reading of the ordinance, council members debated its advisability.

“Is there something about this that we should discourage?” Council President David Michel asked. “We are not talking about recreational marijuana here. What’s the real bad guy here if it’s medically prescribed?”

Councilor Jo Deskins echoed Michel’s sentiment.

“If it comes in already packaged, you’ve got the cultivation and the processing and all of that before hand,” Deskins said. “I’m kind of like you. I’m questioning because it would be prescribed by a physician.”


 

Mayor Dean Meyer questioned the legal difference between medical marijuana and CBD oil when used as a palliative. He then turned to Chief of Police Rich Knowlton with a completely different query on the legal ramifications of the topic.

“As far as a medical marijuana dispensary, or something like that, do you have any statistics on elevated crime or lesser crime?” Meyer asked.

“It’s fairly new, so I have no idea. I can look into it,” Knowlton responded.

Councilor Troy Yant, addressing the reality and practicality of the issue, offered his take.

“Maybe we don’t want it as our ‘Welcome to Ottawa’ Main Street store, but maybe we should look at zoning it,” Councilor Troy Yant added. “If it was convenient to go get it down on the street, I think that is a benefit to our people who might need it, as opposed to having to travel to downtown Lima.”

Rather than close the door on the potential for a dispensary within the village, Michel recommended further research into the matter.

“This is only the first reading, but I think everybody should do their own research and we can discuss this again,” Michel concluded.

Turning to other matters, council heard a proposal from the Park Board proposed for the installation of speed bumps in Water Works Park. Village Administrator Jack Williams questioned the effectiveness of such a measure.

“If you put the speed bumps in they are going to drive around it,” Councilmember Jack Williams said.

In another park related matter, council moved forward with the construction of a splash pad at the village’s Memorial Pool.

Implementing a rare suspension of the rules, council heard and passed on its first reading an ordinance accepting a proposal from Rain Drop in an amount not to exceed $199,999.60 for the construction of the splashpad. The installation will take place over the winter months, a period of time Meyer suggested be used to the benefit of the aesthetics of the site.

“This is going to take a while, but here I got a vision. With this decorative fence, I would eventually like to see that go all away around the pool and take that chain link out. I think it would really dress the place up,” Meyer said.

In other business, council:

• passed on emergency an ordinance authorizing the execution of a Municipal Lease-Purchase agreement between Santander Bank, N.A., as lessor, and the Village, as lessee, for the purpose of acquiring motorized vehicles and equipment, including a dump truck with plow, together with the necessary appurtenances, for use by the Village.

• approved a resolution by the Council of the Village of Ottawa, Putnam County, Ohio, approving entering into a community reinvestment area agreement with J. Anthony and Constance Lehman

• approved a resolution authorizing the Mayor’s signature on the computer network support agreement in the amount of $5,025 between Justice Data Solutions and the Village of Ottawa

• authorized signatures on the Notice to Proceed for the Water Treatment Plant Improvement Project.

The next regular meeting of the Ottawa Village Council is scheduled for Monday, Dec. 13 at 7:30 p.m. in the municipal building.