Columbia Township says medical marijuana dispensary is welcome

Published 4:30 p.m. ET Nov. 20, 2017 | 
Columbia Township would be happy to have a medical marijuana dispensary operate in its community. Administrator C. Michael Lemon said the Columbia Township Board of Trustees passed a resolution Nov. 14 that clears the way for a medical marijuana dispensary to open in the township.

The resolution does not permit cultivation or processing facilities in the township.

Lemon said the state will allow 60 dispensaries and has allocated three of the licenses to Hamilton County. The township has been approached by potential dispensary operators and the closing window for applicants on Friday prompted action by the township, Lemon said.

The zone identified in the resolution is the Ridge and Highland commercial area, which is also a Joint Economic Development Zone. The dispensary would not be permitted in a residential area.

Lemon said if a state-licensed dispensary locates in the township, it would bring enormous economic benefits, as well as personal health benefits for those in need.

“There have been numerous studies in recent years that show how medical marijuana has significant beneficial effects for those dealing with Alzheimer’s disease, cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis and other serious ailments,” he said. “This would be a win for individuals within the township who endure these medical conditions and would be a resource for people all across the county.”

Lemon said township officials were approached about the potential project within the last month, He said the clinics projected they could do as much as $50 million in business by the third to fifth year of operation.

“This will serve as a win-win for everyone involved. It’s a win for those that are experiencing certain medical conditions, as well as provide comfort to their families by providing the knowledge that they are in less
pain,” Lemon said. “It will also be a win for the township as a whole, as we will experience positive economic impacts from the introduction of this business opportunity into Columbia Township.”

He said the township must make sure any dispensary is located in the appropriate place. The Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program stipulates that a retail dispensary is prohibited from being located within 500 feet of a school, church, public library, public playground, public park or community addiction services provider.

“Now, we hope the groups we are working with can win one of the 60 licenses from the state,” Lemon said. “We hope to hear the final results in the next 90-180 days.”

The State of Ohio Board of Pharmacy finished accepting applications for dispensary licenses Nov. 17. The board received 370 dispensary applications. From these, the Board of Pharmacy is authorized to award up to 60 provisional licenses.

November 8, 2017 Election Results

Hamilton County, OH — General Election Unofficial — November 07, 2017

Township Trustees
Early     Election Total 
David J. Kubicki 94    38.68% 535 40.17% 629 39.94%
Susan Hughes 90 37.04% 472 35.44% 562 35.68%
Carl Jones 59 24.28% 325 24.40% 384 24.38%
Township Fiscal Officer  (Unexpired term ending 3-31-2020),
Caroline Heekin 109 100.00% 593 100.00% 702 100.00%




10 AM – 2 PM
4289 Ivy Pointe Boulevard, Cincinnati, Ohio 45245

Total Quality Logistics is pleased to partner with the Environmental Action Committee of Mount St. Joseph University to sponsor a community electronics recycling day on Saturday, September 30th, in the parking lot of TQL’s corporate headquarters in Union Twp., Clermont Co. There are no residency requirements to drop off items and ANY item with an electrical cord will be accepted. This includes all TVs (any size), refrigerators and all other household appliances (microwaves, washers, vacuum cleaners, etc.), cell phones, game systems, iPods, Blackberries, MP3 players, digital cameras, GPS units, e-readers, all computers and related accessories (such as keyboards, printers, portable hard drives, and scanners), VCR/DVD/CD players, fax machines, copiers, surge protectors, power cables and charging cords, electronic wiring, and satellite components.
A $15 donation is requested for each cathode ray tube (CRT) TV/monitor dropped off for recycling and a $25 donation is requested for each large TV (consoles, large flat screens, and rear projection TVs). For those without TVs to drop off, a $10 donation is requested per vehicle. These donations help to defray both disposal fees for the hazardous waste components of the items to be recycled and transportation costs. As a thank you, TQL will give a free, TQL Cares reusable plastic mug to the first 120 participants.
RecycleForce, a non-profit from Indianapolis, will de-manufacture these items and shred all hard drives to address any privacy concerns. The plastics and metals are then collected, packaged, and sold to build new components, while all toxic elements, such as lead and mercury, will be disposed of properly to avoid environmental contamination. RecycleForce provides transitional jobs to formerly incarcerated people, helping them to rebuild their lives and increase their chances of sustained future employment.
If you have questions, please call event coordinator Colleen McSwiggin at 513-244-4864.

Fifty West Brewing Company’s second annual “Punch Out”

Saturday, July 8th, 2017, Fifty West Brewing Company’s second annual “Punch Out:” This ticketed event will feature 6-7 boxing matches with participants from throughout the Greater Cincinnati Brewing Industry, including two national beer publication participants from 7-11PM at Fifty West Production Works. Brewery participants will begin training a month prior to the event with one-hour, daily boxing classes at the Punch House with former nationally ranked cruiserweight Danny Calhoun. Both male and female boxers will wear padded gloves and headgear during training as well as the main event to ensure safety. Each fight will be scored by celebrity judges, including Mayor Cranley, Buddy Larosa, and a few Bengals. Fifty West intends to build a boxing ring, a stadium (built on our beach volleyball courts), and a variety of other structures to create a festive atmosphere, highlighted by 40 of the best local Cincinnati breweries serving unique craft beer selections throughout the event. The estimated attendance is 5,000 people. The vibe created by Punch out is one of brotherhood/sisterhood and connectivity, as the brewing community comes together in safe and fun atmosphere to support each other in one of the most unique beer events in the United States, and to sample the very best of what Columbia Township has to offer.

 Residents can go online to:

Follow directions and choose either regular GA seating  (15$) or VIP seating ($30) tickets.

We have activated the discount coupon code: COLUMBIA (all CAPS) which will allow for 50% off both GA and VIP seating.

Massive Indoor Adventure Attraction in the Works

Tom Demeropolis |Cincinnati Business Courier

A company is working to redevelop a former Bigg’s grocery store into an indoor skydiving and adventure attraction.

Frayer Enterprises LLC, a national franchisee of Urban Air Trampoline & Adventure Parks, received approval from the Hamilton County Rural Zoning Commission for an adjustment to a previously approved planned unit development at Ridgewater Plaza in Columbia Township. The company plans to open an Urban Air Trampoline & Adventure Park, an indoor skydiving facility that would also include indoor trampolines, laser tag, mini golf and other family-friendly activities.

This is a trampoline area in the Sugar Land, Texas Urban Air Trampoline & Adventure Park. The Cincinnati location will have similar attractions.Michael Browning, CEO and co-founder of Dallas/Fort Worth-based Urban Air Trampoline & Adventure Park, said this will be one of the largest locations to open yet. The attraction, which would be located at 3240 Highland Ave., will fill the entire former grocery store, which is about 65,000 square feet. It is scheduled to open in July or August.

“This is going to be significantly larger based on sheer size and attractions,” Browning told me.
The Cincinnati location will have an indoor skydiving tunnel that will allow customers to fly up to 21 feet in the air. Other attractions will include a two-story, electric go-kart track with cars that can reach speeds of up to 50 mph, wall-to-wall trampoline arenas, dodgeball courts and other activities.
The total investment is expected to be between $5 million and $6 million.
The architect for the project is Nove out of Dallas. Orijin 3 Design Studio is the owner’s representative for the height variance.

Frayer Enterprises needs to build a vertical addition to make room for the indoor skydiving attraction as part of the conversion of the vacant grocery store into a new Urban Air Trampoline & Adventure Park. The addition would be more than 59 feet tall.

Frayer Enterprises purchased the property, located at 5371-5385 Ridge Ave., at the beginning of 2016 for more than $9.9 million, according to property records.

Urban Air Trampoline & Adventure Park is a national indoor trampoline and adventure park franchise company. There are more than 50 Urban Air Trampoline Park locations in the U.S., according to the company’s website. The average cost to open a location is $1.5 million.

A Cincinnati location is one of dozens listed as soon to be opened.

A typical Urban Air Trampoline & Adventure Park, which usually measures about 25,000 square feet, draws about 180,000 guests per year. Since the Cincinnati location will be nearly three times larger, Browning expects it will draw quite a bit more.

“With these attractions, people will drive from hours away,” Browning said told me. “It’s hard to say what we anticipate, but we would love to see more than 180,000.”

The entertainment center also is expected to include a full-service restaurant that would serve beer and wine.

Browning said Cincinnati met the company’s criteria after going through an extensive real estate and demographic analysis. The company looks for a large population of children as well as tweens and teens. The typical Urban Air hosts about 2,600 birthday parties per year.

Browning expects to hire about 65 total employees for the Cincinnati Urban Air location.

Televised Board of Trustees Monthly Meeting Survey

Do you ever watch meetings of the Columbia Township Trustees online through cable access television or via the Internet?
Columbia Township is currently assessing resident use of its ICRC (Intercommunity Regulatory Commission of Southwest Ohio) contracted services.
The township pays ICRC to film and post township trustee meetings on public access cable television, ICRC’s website and the township’s website at a cost of approximately $24,000 a year ($2,000 per meeting)
Viewership of the meetings has ranged from a high of 35 views to a low of one person per meeting.

Columbia Twp. may put police levy on May ballot

 Columbia Township may put a 3.4-mill police levy on the May ballot. In the following Q&A, township Administrator Michael Lemon sheds light on the issue.

Did the Columbia Township Board of Trustees vote to put a police levy on the ballot?

 No, they voted to have the (Hamilton County) auditor certify the amount of revenue a 3.4-mill levy would generate, as required by the Ohio Revised Code.

What would a 3.4-mill levy cost homeowners annually and how much money would it produce annually for Columbia Township to provide police services?

The auditor’s certification will tell us both of these (figures).

Columbia Township currently contracts with the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office to police the township 24 hours a day, seven days a week. About how long has the sheriff’s office been policing Columbia Township?

As far as I know, the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office has been policing Columbia Township forever.

What kind of police presence does the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office provide?

The number of deputies varies per shift and day.

The number can range from one to five per shift, depending on scheduling by the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office.

What does the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office annually charge Columbia Township for this service?

The cost of the officers has averaged $860,991 per year over the past three years while total police service costs, which includes dispatch fees and equipment purchases, have averaged $935,886.

How does Columbia Township pay for these services now?

While costs increased and revenue declined as a result of state tax cuts, we managed to provide ongoing service without a (new) levy.

Costs are paid from the police fund (annual revenue and reserves from earlier levies) and the General Fund (if there are shortfalls, which has occurred the last two years).

In addition to the shortfalls, why is Columbia Township considering a police levy now?

We have not had a levy on the ballot for police services in 13 years.

We explored policing by other communities to reduce costs but found this alternative would cost more and reduce resources.

What’s fueling Ridge Road exit closure

, jhouck@communitypress.com1:28 p.m. EDT August 12, 2016

An Ohio Department of Transportation official says the state is closing the Ridge Road north exit ramp off Interstate 71 to make traveling safer and to ease traffic congestion.

State transportation officials will replace the exit that leads to Columbia Township’s Ridge Road/Highland Avenue business district with a new one that leads directly to Kennedy Avenue, said Brian Cunningham, communications manager with the Ohio Department of Transportation’s district office in Lebanon.

“This was primarily closed to eliminate weaving and merging movements from northbound 71 to Ridge and also from Kennedy to I-71 northbound,” Cunningham said.

“The decision to remove the Ridge Road ramp also was based on…ease of access from I-71 northbound to Ridge Road via state Route 562 – where one can go either left or right onto Ridge – and we will be making Ridge Road two lanes from state Route 562 north where it currently is only one lane.”

Columbia Township Administrator Mike Lemon said recently he was surprised to learn the state planned to close the Ridge Road north exit when he attended a public meeting in July hosted by the Ohio Department of Transportation that he thought was about state plans to add a lane to northbound I-71 and to add sound-barrier walls.

Lemon subsequently arranged a meeting to allow representatives of Columbia Township, Pleasant Ridge and businesses to ask state transportation officials why they plan to close the Ridge Road north exit and why they did not tell local people earlier that they were considering the move.

“ODOT apologized publicly several times for not involving the township earlier,” Lemon said.

“Three representatives were in attendance and were informative and helpful in explaining the project detail and how it will affect traffic flow.

“I think the meeting and sharing details of the project diminished the anxiety of some attendees, caused by lack of information,” Lemon said.

Bill Brinkmann, general manager of Mark Sweeney Buick GMC at 3365 Highland Ave., said he and Mark Sweeney attended the meeting and found it informative.

“We are in favor of the project and believe that it will help to support the revitalization of the Pleasant Ridge business district,” Brinkmann said.

Cunningham agreed that, “It is my understanding the meeting went well. We were asked to provide additional information such as traffic counts and analyze a few possible changes such as signing options.”

But Cunningham said the Ohio Department of Transportation is committed to the project; construction is to begin in spring 2018 and take a year.

“We are continuing to move along with the project,” Cunningham said.

Lemon said state transportation officials at the meeting he arranged agreed to review his proposal to reopen the link from Duck Creek Road to the north lanes of Ridge Road, which now dead ends.

“The ODOT officials listened to the concerns and recommendations of the participants and said they would include them in its environmental review in the process which will be completed in late fall,” Lemon said.

“I requested audience members to detail their concerns in a letter or email and send it to ODOT for inclusion in the public record as the project process proceeds.

“Several of the concerns mentioned were traffic impact on business district streets, Duck Creek reopening to Ridge Road, ability of large semi-trucks to navigate the exit ramp lanes, exit and wayfinding signage and more,” Lemon said.

Want to know more about what is happening in Columbia Township? Follow me on Twitter @jeannehouck.

What the Ohio Department of Transportation plans to do:

Widen northbound Interstate 71 to three continuous through lanes between the Norwood Lateral and Red Bank Expressway interchanges by eliminating the existing loop exit ramp to northbound Ridge Road. The proposed additional lane will continue north from the Ridge Road overpass to the exit ramp at Red Bank Expressway.

Construct a new straight exit ramp from northbound I-71 to Kennedy Avenue.

Modify the existing entrance ramp from Kennedy Avenue to northbound I-71 to allow it to pass between the pier and abutment of the Kennedy Avenue overpass.

Provide a new traffic signal on Kennedy Avenue for the new exit ramp and modified entrance ramp.

Modify Ridge Road between Duck Creek Road and the I-71 overpass to provide two northbound lanes.

Why the Ohio Department of Transportation plans to do it:

Safety: This section of northbound Interstate 71 is ranked ninth out of 77 Hamilton County segments that have a higher than predicted frequency of crashes for this road type, state transportation officials say.

A study concluded that 45 percent of all crashes in the area occurred on northbound I-71. Seventy percent of the northbound crashes occurred during the evening and likely were related to congestion created as two lanes drop at the state Route 562 and Ridge Road north interchange.

Traffic congestion – This section of northbound I-71 is among the top 25 (out of 179) most congested state and interstate highway segments in Ohio, state transportation officials say.

Currently, 67,540 to 71,810 vehicles travel this section daily. By 2036, that range is expected to increase to 70,880 to 76,310 vehicles a day.

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