Marquette Township to consider recreational marijuana, PILT ordinance

The Marquette Township Board will consider the first reading of an ordinance to prohibit all recreational marijuana establishments within the boundaries of the township during its meeting at 6:30 tonight in the Marquette Township Community Center. (David Deardorff via AP)

MARQUETTE — Marquette Township may join the growing number of Marquette County municipalities that have banned recreational marijuana businesses within their jurisdictions.

The Marquette Township Board will consider the first reading of an ordinance prohibiting “all recreational marijuana establishments within the boundaries of the township,” during its meeting at 6:30 tonight.

The ordinance language, drafted pursuant to the Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act passed by popular vote on Nov. 6, characterizes a violation as a municipal civil infraction with fines not less than $100 and not more than $500.

Each day that the violation continues “shall be deemed a separate offense,” ordinance language states.

The board will also consider the second reading of a Payment in Lieu of Taxes ordinance governing Whetstone Village Apartments.

The measure, if enacted, would allow the township to collect 4 percent of the annual shelter rents from the 42 low-income Whetstone Village apartments situated within the township boundaries in lieu of ad valorem taxes. The remaining 92 units in the complex are located within the city of Marquette’s boundary.

The proposed ordinance is partnered with an annual service agreement with the complex’s owner, Magellan Property Management, wherein the Marquette Township Fire Department will collect $3,500 per year for inspections of each of the Whetstone apartment units located in the township

The overall action is initially expected to decrease annual township tax revenue by a conservatively estimated $1,890, but the loss amount is expected to decrease over time as energy efficient additions are made to the property, township officials say.

The PILT is an initial step in the property owner’s attempt to obtain an allocation of Low-Income Housing Tax Credits from the Michigan State Housing Development Authority for the purpose of building renovations.

The Marquette City Commission unanimously approved a letter of support for its portion of the Whetstone Village PILT as part of its consent agenda during an Oct. 9 meeting.

The township board will also consider authorizing a loan from its wastewater fund, which has nearly $1.9 million in fund balance, to the municipality’s water fund in order eliminate high-interest debts the water fund is currently paying off.

The water fund showed reserves of roughly $438,000 in November.

If approved, the loan will pay off the final two years of debt for a 40-acre land purchase, with approximately $31,793 on the principal balance, and the remaining eight years of the Grandview Circle Water Project, with $85,000 remaining on the principal balance.

Lisa Bowers can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 242.