Input sought on medical marijuana zoning

Public hearing slated Feb. 1 for facilities ordinance amendment

MANISTEE —  The Manistee Planning Commission will hold a public hearing at 7 p.m. on Feb. 1, seeking input on a proposed Zoning Ordinance Amendment for Medical Marijuana Facilities.

After two separate readings, the Manistee City Council unanimously adopted a Medical Marijuana Facilities Ordinance on Jan. 2, which follows the Michigan Medical Marijuana Facilities Licensing Act.

The ordinance allows for state licensed medical marijuana grow facilities, processors, transporters and safety compliance;

The Brass LCC medical marijuana grow facility and processor in Detroit are required to follow strict regulations in order to continue operation. (Courtesy Photo/Jim Smith)

The Brass LCC medical marijuana grow facility and processor in Detroit are required to follow strict regulations in order to continue operation. (Courtesy Photo/Jim Smith)

however, provisioning centers are not included in the ordinance.

Denise Blakeslee, planning and zoning administrator, said a separate Zoning Ordinance Amendment for Medical Marijuana Facilities is required in the process to allowing medical marijuana facilities in certain areas of the city.

At the Planning Commission meeting on Feb. 1 in the council chambers at city hall, commissioners could approve the Zoning Ordinance Amendment and make any changes to the document’s language, after hearing public input.

If approved on Feb. 1, commissioners will make a recommendation to city council, where council could then adopt the Zoning Ordinance Amendment within two final readings.

“There’s two different ordinances — the codified ordinance the council has already taken action on and the zoning ordinance amendment that would allow it within certain zoning districts,” said Blakeslee. “At the hearing, public can give input and the commission will take that into consideration when they make a determination on the amendment.”

If the final ordinance is adopted, Medical Marijuana Facilities interested in operating within the city must apply for several licenses before moving forward.

First, a special use permit must be approved by the Planning Commission, and then business owners must go through the city’s application process.

Thad Taylor, city manager, said those interested in opening a medical marijuana facility must fill out an application through the City Clerk’s Office, which then has to be reviewed. The city has up to 21 days to respond.

After reviewing the application, a license can be issued by city council, and the facility can move to obtain the proper licences through the state.

Medical marijuana facilities with the appropriate licenses must meet strict requirements and ordinance regulations from both the city and state to continue its operations.

“We are going through our second or third draft of the permit process for the medical marijuana facilities,” said Taylor. “We anticipate that to be done well before the planning commission meeting. Once that is finalized, whoever is interested can make an application for a (license) with the city.”

Taylor said the entire process has been rather tedious for city staff.

“We were doing this while the state was trying to put together their program,” said Taylor. “It was a little difficult.”

If the zoning ordinance amendment is adopted, plans could take shape for two medical marijuana facilities proposed within the city limits.

Brass LLC presented a possible development to council on Oct. 13, detailing a medical marijuana class A grow facility at the Iron Works property at 254 River St.

Another buyer, which has already bought land within the city, proposed a development for a medical marijuana facility on the corner of North Glocheski Drive and Washington Street.

On Dec. 5, city council accepted two bids for lots 12 and 13 for a total of $32,400. Beau Parmenter, project developer with Elite Dynamic Innovative Solutions, said the project calls for a partnership with several medical professionals and businesses — many of which conduct cancer research with marijuana.

Parmenter said three buildings within the purchased lots will be constructed, and 15 to 20 jobs could open up for each building — depending on the future of the development.

“It’s pretty much big business owners and doctors on this that I am dealing with,” Parmenter said, on Dec. 5. “We have put forth a lot of work to find out who has the credentials to do it and who does not.”

No further details on either project has been provided at this time.

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Posted by Ashlyn Korienek

Ashlyn is the cops & courts and city reporter for the Manistee News Advocate. You can reach her at (231) 398-3109 or akorienek@pioneergroup.com

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