Corunna council examines marijuana grow proposal

A rendering of the Parmenter Road Industrial site, created by construction engineering company Olson Associates, includes a potential access road connecting the property directly to M-71, which would need approval from railroad companies.

CORUNNA — The Corunna City Council voted unanimously Monday to amend the city’s marijuana facilities ordinance to allow licensing for marijuana storefronts, citing opportunities for increased tax revenue and development.

Council members agreed to allow up to two storefronts in the city’s Central Business District (C-1), Service/Business District (C-2) and General Business District (C-3), while also reducing the setback away from public parks, churches, commercial child care operations and substance abuse facilities to 100 feet. Facilities cannot be located within 1,000 feet of a school, the ordinance states.

A single location will be allowed to serve as both a medical provisioning center and a recreational storefront, officials said.

“I would like (developers) to have at least that chance (downtown),” council member John Lawson said during Monday’s meeting. “I don’t see that as a problem. It’s not like there’s people hanging out in the parking lots and they’re throwing dime bags out the window, it’s none of that kind of thing.”

In preparation for Monday’s vote to consider marijuana retail establishments, Lawson toured Skymint, a medical and recreational provisioning center in Lansing.

“I was incredibly impressed with the whole operation they ran there,” Lawson said, pointing to extensive cleaning and security measures the facility had in place. “If it was that kind of operation that would go in (here), I wouldn’t have a problem with it in any of the areas downtown.”

The city council approved an ordinance regulating marijuana facilities Feb. 1, outlining the specific requirements potential developers must meet in order to operate within city limits.

The initial ordinance allowed up to two licenses each for indoor and outdoor grow operations, six licenses for marijuana processors, two licenses for safety compliance, two licenses for secure transport and two licenses for microbusinesses. The ordinance also allowed up to two licenses for designated consumption establishments, with the caveat that those operations must occur within an existing microbusiness.

Monday, council members expanded licensing for designated consumption establishments, allowing for two additional licenses with the stipulation those operations must occur within an existing licensed storefront.

All license applications are subject to review and approval by City Manager Joe Sawyer. Developers will have the opportunity to appeal license denials and/or revocations, with the appeal going before the city council for review.

The move to craft a marijuana facilities ordinance came as the council considers a large-scale marijuana development at its industrial park along Parmenter Road.

On Dec. 14, the city council voted unanimously to accept a letter of intent from Green Parent Holdings LLC to lease about 64 acres of vacant, city-owned land west of Parmenter Road for the purpose of developing a marijuana grow/processing operation. Council members have subsequently stated the 15-acre portion on the north side of the property would be excluded from the project to provide a buffer if and when any development materializes.

According to Green Parent Holdings’ proposed 10-year lease, the city would receive approximately $75,000 per year for use of the property. Green Parent Holdings would also have the option to purchase the property at any point during the lease for $800,000.

Green Parent Holdings’ marijuana business license application is currently under review and has yet to be finalized, Sawyer said Monday.

All license applications are evaluated by the city manager on a 100-point scale, per the ordinance, with categories for evaluation including content and sufficiency, consistency with surrounding land use and resident safety, demonstration of sufficient financial resources and promotion of local business and economic development.

Approved licenses are valid for one year, with the city manager reserving the right to deny license renewal if standards are not continually met, according to the ordinance. No license will be awarded to an applicant whose score falls below 60.

Sawyer acknowledged Monday that the proposed Parmenter Road development may not meet the minimum scoring requirements under the ordinance because of Green Parent Holdings’ multi-phase plan, which includes traditional outdoor cultivation, hoop house cultivation, greenhouse cultivation and a processing facility, with the overall development transitioning to fully indoor cultivation within seven years.

Nonetheless, Sawyer said, he anticipates granting a provisional license to the company to accommodate the unique timeline of the development.

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