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Neighbors concerned about proposed medical marijuana grow facility in Olivette

Neighbors have concerns about the smell that comes with the grow facility. The city said they want a plan that everyone is happy with.

ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. — On Tuesday evening, the City of Olivette held a community meeting to discuss a special use permit for a medical marijuana cultivation site.

"They don't want it here, it will bring a smell, that will take over," said Neil Quarells, whose father lives right behind the proposed warehouse.

His family has lived in that same house for over five decades. Quarells is concerned about the home value in the future.

Nina Schatzkamer Miller lives a mile away. She's with Clean Air Olivette and is opposed to a warehouse going up in her neighborhood. She was going into Tuesday night's meeting with one goal.

"The main thing we want is for them to delay voting to permit this," Miller said. "More input from residents is needed. More study into how they will do odor mitigation is needed. That's our main goal, if we can't stop it, let's delay it."

She also has a problem with the transparency of how this project came to fruition. She said leaders weren't open about the proposal and rushed this through.

Proper Cannabis is the parent company looking to open a facility in an empty warehouse. They have a similar grow facility in Rock Hill. Miller took a visit to check out what it's like in that neighborhood.

"When I got on slightly higher ground, that's when I smelled it, on Rock Hill Road," Miller said. "The smell of skunk, we all know what that means."

"Traffic around the Rock Hill facility may have been heavy the past few weeks, as people went and did research for themselves," Olivette City Manager Barbara Sondag said.

She said the city has set up a plan to ease neighbors' concerns. It includes a hotline for neighbors to call with concerns, an odor mitigation specialist to help advise city leaders and requiring the parent company, Proper Cannabis, to operate under a special use permit.

"The biggest stick that the city would have is the special use permit," Sondag said. "The special use permit can be revoked by the council, with due process. Without that it would be difficult if not impossible to continue operations."

She said the cultivation site brings jobs and revenue to the city. Proper Cannabis would also invest in the empty warehouse.

"We want to end up with a process everyone understands and can agree to," Sondag said.

At Tuesday night's meeting, the Olivette City Council delayed voting on the proposal. No action was taken, and the council will be taking more time to study the proposal.

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