A vacant church in West Amwell could become a marijuana farm

WEST AMWELL – A nationwide medical cannabis grower is looking to convert a vacant church into a medical marijuana cultivation facility.

GMNJ Properties, part of Colorado-based Green Medicine, has applied to the community planning committee to convert the former First Pentecostal Prayer of Faith Church at Route 518 and Rock Road into a 30,000 square foot annex.

The motion was originally scheduled for a February 15 hearing by the Planning Committee, but due to a flaw in its public notice, the hearing has been tentatively postponed to March 15.

Green Medicine received approval from the state Cannabis Regulatory Commission to open a cultivation facility in October.

The facility is a permitted conditional use under the municipality’s zoning ordinance.

Green Medicine, which also has cultivation facilities in Colorado and Arizona and is seeking licenses in Illinois and Florida, would not allow public access to the site and would not have retail sales.

Green Medicine bought the 22-acre property containing the 18,395-square-foot empty church building in December.

READ:New Jersey marijuana dispensaries want to sell legal weed. So what’s the hold?

No changes to the exterior, footprint or height of the building are proposed. Green Medicine proposes upgrading the second floor balcony of the former sanctuary to a full-fledged second floor. Green Medicine would also make any necessary repairs to the building and property and plant street trees along Route 518 and Rock Road.

The only deviation Green Medicine seeks is an 8-foot fence around the facility, mandated by state regulations. Community zoning only allows 6 foot fences.

First Pentecostal Prayer of Faith Church filed for bankruptcy in October 2016. If the cultivation center is approved, the community could collect property taxes since places of worship are exempt from property taxes.

In January, after heated public meetings, the Alexandria community rejected a plan by Altus New Jersey LLC to grow and process marijuana plants on protected farmland off Airport Road.

The neighboring community of Kingwood has scheduled a special meeting for a cannabis cultivation company for February 15 at 7:00 p.m. to present plans for a facility to the community board.

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Mike Deak is a reporter for mycentraljersey.com. To get unlimited access to his articles about Somerset and Hunterdon counties, subscribe or activate your digital account today.

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