Norwegian Twp. supervisors pass ordinance banning marijuana smells

Oct. 4—MAR LIN — The Norwegian Twp. supervisors passed an ordinance banning smells from marijuana facilities, a move meant to address odors coming from a medical marijuana facility that residents have complained about and its operators say they want to fix.

The ordinance, which prohibits cannabis growers or processors from emitting odors in the township and classifies those smells as a nuisance, was unanimously approved by the three supervisors at their meeting Monday night.

During the meeting, Brian Kiniry, head of operations for DocHouse LLC, the facility's operator, acknowledged the odor problem. While he wants to address it, he also wants to understand where the odors are being detected.

"We want to fix it," Kiniry said. "We will try everything in our power to make it happen."

Kiniry said the company has taken steps to mitigate the smells, including putting in new filtration and heating and air conditioning systems, as well as sealing the building. He attributed the odor to the plants grown there and said the odors aren't hazardous.

However, supervisors Chairman David George said state Sen. David G. Argall, R-29, Rush Twp., sent letters to the state departments of health and environmental protection about the smells, but he didn't hear back.

Attorney Theodore C. Flowers said the facility has been compliant with regulations issued by the state Department of Health and it has not received any citations. Kiniry and Flowers requested to review the ordinance before its passage.

At the meeting, several residents asked about the odor and what is being done to rectify it.

John Yacobowsky, of Saint Clair Avenue, compared the odor to "100 dead skunks" and the facility "blatantly allowed the stenches to continue."

"We have to live with it everyday," he said.

George said he heard from Dale Verchick, of Chamberlaine Avenue, who expressed concerns about the odor and its effect on her young children. He said supervisors in neighboring East Norwegian Twp. have also heard complaints from residents about the smell and supported the township's ordinance.

The ordinance would allow township officials to visit an affected area to determine if an odor is detectable, and for the public to verify odors through credible testimony.

Facilities found to be emitting odors would be served a written notice. Those found in violation of the ordinance would be issued a summons and face fines between $150 and $1,000 for each violation.

George and Supervisor Thomas Dallago previously said the ordinance was written up on the advice of solicitor B.J. Evans after hearing complaints from residents living near the DocHouse LLC facility along Ann Street, which was built in 2020.

They said despite reassurances from a company representative in July that the smells would be addressed, residents, particularly those on Chamberlaine and Saint Clair avenues, are still complaining about the odors.

During the meeting, George said they aren't chasing out business but they have to look out for residents. He added that he hopes action will be taken by DocHouse.

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