Council decides controversial issues in front of standing-room-only crowd

Council members approved two proposals that will bring a marijuana cultivation facility to the former Apple Market grocery store at 22nd and Mitchell while also voting down a hiker-biker trail design that neighbors said would take their property.

Posted: Apr 22, 2019 11:12 PM
Updated: Apr 22, 2019 11:12 PM

(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.)  St. Joseph city council members gave the green light to the development of a marijuana cultivation facility in the city while also putting up a stop sign for a new hiker/biker trail in north St. Joseph.

Those two controversial issues brought out a standing-room-only crowd for Monday's city council meeting.

Over the course of nearly three hours, members of the public took time speaking out either for or against each topic.

For the past several weeks, there had been much debate about the possibility of the marijuana facility moving into the old Apple Market grocery store at 22nd and Frederick.  Many neighbors had spoken out against the plan because of the type of business that was considering the building. Others liked the idea of turning a blighted, desserted building into a productive, tax-paying business that provided up to 30 good-paying jobs.

"On the top end, supervisors will have a salary in excess of $50,000 each. On the lower end, cultivaters and harvesters, custodial will be more than $15-20 per hour," said John Spencer, the attorney representing the company wanting to start the business.

After much discussion, the two bills passed on 6-3 and 7-2 votes.

For the hiker/biker trail, social media had been abuzz in recent weeks with some of the north St. Joseph property owners who would be affected by the placement of the trail stating their case of how it would affect their quality of lives.

They were upset by the amount of land it would take from them and the proposed trail's proximity to their homes.

Nearly 90 minutes of at times heated testimony also included those in support of the project, who believed the addition of more hiker/biker trails in the city would be a benefit.

However, eventually the trail design was defeated 5-4.

$200,000 of the project was to have been paid for using federal funds. City staff say that money will likely be lost.

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