HURON — Theater owner Michael Moore and Moore Enterprise LLC have filed suit against the City of Huron in opposition to a recently-approved medical marijuana dispensary.
According to the publicly-available writ of certiorari filed by Moore, when the city approved a conditional use permit for Jeffrey Van Winkle for a medical marijuana dispensary at 233 Dakota Ave S on June 13, it did not follow proper procedure in multiple facets.
Moore’s suit alleges that the Huron City Commission was not properly adjourned into the board of adjustment for the public hearing regarding the conditional use permit. It further alleges that improper procedures were followed regarding receiving public comment during the public hearing, that one of the commissioners had connections to Van Winkle’s business, connections that should have caused him to recuse himself from voting on the manner.
Also, the suit alleges that at the end of the consideration of the conditional use permit, the commission was not properly brought out of the board of adjustment back to the regular city commission.
The suit names commissioner Bryan Smith as the person who should have recused himself, as his daughter is married to the son of Glenn Jungemann, named in the suit as the “grower and financier for Van Winkle’s dispensary business.”
Smith was one of the four votes in favor of the dispensary.
In reviewing the YouTube video of the June 13 meeting, Mayor Gary Harrington opens the hearing with the line, “The city commission now adjuourns to convene as the board of adjustment for the following public hearing...”
Harrington handed the description of the conditional use permit to city planner Barry Cranston at that point, and the commission heard testimony from Moore and Van Winkle and also had a significant discussion among themselves.
After more than 30 minutes of discussion and consideration, a vote was taken on the manner before the commission.
Commissioners Smith, Rich Bragg, Drew Weinreis, and Mayor Harrington voted in favor of the conditional use permit while Commissioner Mark Robish voted against it, as he has done with all marijuana-related items before the commission.
Harrington then did not officially adjourn the board of adjustment, simply stating, “Moving on now, item six is the consent agenda...”
Regarding public notice on the meeting, The Plainsman’s Saturday, June 11 edition had a meeting notification stating that the city would consider a “conditional use permit for a medical marijuana dispensary” and the city has all agendas available for public review on Friday afternoon prior to the Monday meeting.
Moore’s suit states that the decision could have significant impact on the community and that proper public opinion was not allowed.
The commission did make a motion for approval and received a second before moving into discussion on the motion, which included Moore and Van Winkle each weighing in on the dispensary and answering questions from commissioners.
Whether the discussion time should have happened before a formal motion or within a formal motion is the question at hand.
Moore’s opposition to the dispensary was stated in the meeting.
“We don’t have very many family entertainment options in Huron,” Moore said in the meeting, regarding the location of the movie theater, which he owns through Moore Enterprises LLC, next door to the proposed dispensary. “If you set the city of Huron down and said where is the absolute worst place to set one of these things, that would be the place.”
When asked about the suit, Moore noted the lack of “findings of fact” presented by the commission before their decision.
“They couldn’t tell me if business would go down for the theater by ten percent, fifteen, or twenty. As someone who had just purchased a business, that was a concern for me,” Moore explained. “When going against the recommended denial from the zoning board, they should be able to show facts why they are going against that recommendation.”
City attorney Tucker Volesky has filed for a dismissal on the petition.