Perrysburg OKs 6-month ban on medical pot, approves tax incentive for Mercy

The six-month moratorium on marijuana sales, processing and distribution in Perrysburg comes as Ohio is still developing regulations on how the state’s program will operate. Other communities have taken similar action to limit marijuana until those regulations become clearer, and Perrysburg Township trustees approved a ban last month that will stand unless rescinded.

Council members conducted only a minimal discussion on Tuesday, but Councilman Tim McCarthy made it clear the temporary measure is not a final decision.

"This does not constitute a prohibition. That decision hasn’t been made yet," said McCarthy, who is council president.

"This is just a moratorium for a six-month period to consider what we do want to do. … This is not a final decision in any respect on this issue, it’s just a moratorium to give us time to make that decision."

In other business, the tax incentive approved for Mercy’s hospital expansion is for up to $150,000 per year in income taxes paid by the company, which has said it will create 221 new jobs in Perrysburg and grow its annual payroll to more than $42 million over the next several years.

Councilman Jim Matuszak said he is not in favor of the incentive because he believes it to be a handout, since Mercy was already planning on expanding in Perrysburg and the grant wasn’t necessary to make it happen, he said. Smaller businesses aren’t eligible for similar incentives because they don’t meet relatively high payroll requirements, and Matuszak said he believed the money should be used in a way other than to attract jobs that would likely come here anyway.

McCarthy said he understood Matuszak’s point, but that such tax incentives are becoming increasingly expected in many cities that become home to large job-creation projects.

"I understand now that if you bring a sizable project to a city like this, you’re probably going to expect to get some relief, some form of inducement to locate the project in that community. Whether that be fair or unfair, that’s reality in my view," said McCarthy, who pointed out that increased tax collections should long outlast the five-year tax abatement.

Matuszak abstained from a previous committee-level vote on the jobs grant because he said his wife works for a competing hospital nearby. On Tuesday, he said he spoke about the matter with the city’s law director, who told him he was not obligated to abstain.

• Approved a $48,120 contract with Michigan Pavers & Walls to replace a portion of deteriorating retaining wall at Hood Park. Councilman Rick Rettig said the contract did not go through committee, but that the city will save around $2,000 below estimate by hiring the contractor that is currently finishing work at nearby Riverside Park.

• Agreed to seek bids for summer pavement marking and to add a traffic signal at Ohio 199 and the northern section of Eckel Junction Road.

• Authorized a $758,277 contract with Bowers Asphalt & Paving for summer street resurfacing.

• Agreed to seek grant funding for intersection upgrades at Ohio 25 and Indiana Avenue, and at Route 25 and Preston Parkway near Levis Commons.

• Approved the rezoning of a small section of land at Perrysburg Area Historical Museum from R-2 Residential to Institutional. The 0.21-acre parcel was inadvertently left out of a prior rezoning issue.

• Conducted public hearings about a potential rezoning of the former Bayshore Village subdivision, now being planned as the Summerfield subdivision, and also regarding code amendments for backyard chickens.

The owner has sought to rezone part of eastern side of the subdivision from R-4 to R-5, which would allow multifamily units on about 35 of 180 lots.

There was no vote following either hearing. McCarthy said the chicken issue will be discussed at the Planning and Zoning Committee’s meeting at 5:30 p.m. May 15.

• Heard that Perrysburg Boat Club is considering changes to its building plans along the river that may lead the club to drop its appeal of several zoning denials by the city. A pending hearing date was vacated, pending further discussions.