Plans for a second medical marijuana dispensary cleared City Hall on Monday.

Akron Council also agreed to take out a 45-year loan for regular sewer maintenance and delay a controversial curb cut at a new parking lot for the expanding Signet Enterprises.

Residents in condominiums and housing developments along the Smith Road Corridor, which extends from Merriman Valley to Summit Mall, moved city administrators to postpone the curb cut as the jeweler grows from the recent acquisition of Zales.

The curb cut allowing traffic to turn right in and right out of the new parking lot will be revisited next year after a traffic study, funded through the city's capital budget at a yet-to-be-determined cost, is conducted to assess the local impact.

Council also approved the sale of $15.5 million in city bonds to the Ohio EPA’s Water Pollution Control Loan Fund. The 45-year loans carry low interest rates of 2 percent to 3 percent.

For the first time, though, the city is long-term financing regular maintenance, borrowing $8.5 million at a time when the court-ordered $1.1 billion combined sewer overflow project is sucking up resources.

"It’s easy to forget that we still have to maintain other parts of the sewer system,” said Steve Fricker, Akron’s deputy finance director.

Council also held two public hearings Monday on the second and final medical marijuana dispensary location approved by state regulators, who missed a deadline earlier this month to roll out Ohio’s medicinal pot program.

Andrew Wagner of Bloom Management, a national operator of cannabis growers, processors and sellers, spoke to City Council about the dispensary his company will build in a boat repair garage at 737 E. North St. where Home Avenue and Arlington Street meet.

Last week, City Council went against the mayor's recommendation and granted conditional zoning to Greenleaf Apothecaries, an Ohio company, to fill doctors' orders for pot at 46 S. Summit St.

The North Street location — more remote than the downtown space the mayor opposed — will be owned by 127 OH LLC. That company and Wagner’s business are controlled by Nicole van Rensburg and William Hollander, along with their father, Nate Hollander. The South Florida family runs a national fleet of portable medical devices, like MRI machines, and urgent care centers.

“We have an extensive background in the medical profession that is inherently tied to quality patient care,” said Wagner, the director of operations for Bloom Management.

As a company, they were one of only two in Ohio approved to open five dispensaries. The family has owned a pot pharmacy in an Illinois strip mall since 2014 and opened another in January next to a bank in Maryland.

Al Hilkert and Doug Ramstadt, who respectively own Botzum Bros. Hardware and Ken-Tool near the proposed marijuana dispensary, alleged that patients across the street from their manufacturing facilities would attract drug dealers looking for customers and people who "just want to smoke pot." With sidewalks missing along Home Avenue or North Street, the businessmen questioned access for patients and the safety of their own employees.

Wagner said there have been no violent crimes, break-ins or assaults at the Illinois and Maryland locations. The Akron operation, which boasts 10 jobs and $450,000 in annual payroll, will use motion-activated sensors and keycard panels to secure the inside and surveillance cameras to discourage loitering outside. No more than a 30-day supply of cannabis will be locked in a vault. The product, which in Ohio cannot be smoked or combustible, will be sold as oils to be dropped beneath the tongue, as dry leaves for cooking and vaping or as pre-made edibles — all in prescription pill bottles labeled for potency.

“The quality of the cannabis we sell is also above and beyond,” Wagner said.

 

Reach Doug Livingston at 330-996-3792 or dlivingston@thebeaconjournal.com. Follow him @ABJDoug on Twitter or www.facebook.com/doug.livingston.92 on Facebook.