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Pot placement

Marquette Township Planning Commission to discuss zoning for establishments

MARQUETTE — The Marquette Township Planning Commission will continue discussions about where marijuana businesses might fit into the community at 7 tonight in the Marquette Township Hall.

The commission and township planning staff, at the direction of the Marquette Township Board, are within 60 days of producing zoning ordinance language for the board’s consideration, officials said recently.

During its Feb. 12 meeting, the commission agreed on changes in a section of the ordinance entitled “Principal Use Permitted in Districts” which would allow business owners wishing to operate medical marijuana provisioning centers, recreational marijuana event organizers or microbusinesses to apply for special land-use permits in the township’s general business and development district zones.

In contrast, recreational marijuana consumption establishments would be allowed only in the township areas defined as general business under the draft language.

The proposed zoning amendments would also allow medical marijuana processors to apply for special land-use permits under the township’s general business and segregated business zones, while recreational marijuana growers could apply for special-use permits in general business, segregated business and resource production zones of the township.

Furthermore, temporary marijuana events could be held under the proposed ordinance language by obtaining a specific temporary-use permit in township forest recreation, general business, segregated business and resource production zones.

In a memo to the commission, Marquette Township Planning and Zoning Administrator Jason McCarthy said there are several elements to consider before submitting language to the township board.

“As previously stated and considered by other municipalities seeking to advance a marijuana ordinance, parameters for density, number of allowable businesses and proximity requirements should be considered,” McCarthy’s memo states.

Township staff also recommends the planning commission consider amending language in the detailed use section of its ordinance.

In March 2019, the board acted to prohibit all marijuana establishments as defined by the voter-approved Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marihuana Act.

KBIC officials made a presentation during a board meeting in May, requesting that members consider allowing a medical marijuana dispensary in the tribe-owned gas station property along the U.S. 41 corridor.

The board then voted during its June 18 meeting to direct township staff and the planning commission to start the process of researching and amending current zoning ordinances to accommodate medical and recreational marijuana businesses in the township.

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

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