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Saline license OK for marijuana dispensary in long time local ice cream shop

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SALINE, MI — A famous Saline ice cream shop is set to become the city’s first marijuana dispensary after winning the blessing of local elected officials on Monday, May 16.

Development at the site of what is now Mickey’s Dairy Twist on West Michigan Avenue promises to turn the iconic local business into a medical marijuana facility, with developers also seeking permits to sell adult-use recreational cannabis there.

Saline City Council voted 6-1 for grant a zoning permit Monday, allowing the plans to proceed to final stages and detailed review by city planners.

The proposal went on to prompt calls from upset neighboring residents that the family’s place for frozen treats could be replaced with one they said was unsuitable for an area frequented by children.

Read more: Beloved Saline ice cream shop could become the city’s first marijuana dispensary

The marijuana trade falls within the limited boundaries that city leaders chose when they licensed medical marijuana facilities last summer and opened the door to recreational cannabis establishments in March.

Yet the developers chose one of the only permitted locations near a residential area, said City Council member Janet Dillon, adding that it was “rough oversight” by the city. city.

The city leader, alone to vote against the zoning permit, said she was not opposed to the clinics, but the location near homes seemed inappropriate. “I’m really upset that it’s come to this point,” she said.

The proposal has already prompted Saline to pause on new marijuana business licenses, taking another look at city rules that in some cases are only weeks old, after outcry over the planned dispensary and its proximity to a daycare centre.

Read more: Outcry over dispensary near daycare prompts suspension of marijuana license in Saline

But the freeze on the processing of new requests does not affect the progress of existing projects, such as the one on the Dairy Twist site.

On Monday, Shaun Mansour, an attorney representing developer AM & BH Industries, LLC, defended the plans, assuring city leaders the company represents an attractive redevelopment opportunity in a highly regulated industry.

‘Think of it as a convenience store that doesn’t let kids in,’ he said, pointing out that all transactions will take place indoors in the ‘adults-only commerce’ that promoters don’t have. no problem making it look discreet from the outside.

The planned dispensary represents a chance to refresh commercial land near the city’s western edge, Mansour added, referring to plans to demolish a residential building on Mickey’s property, while adding landscaping and parking. .

A member of the city council, Pro-Tem Mayor Dean Girbach, took steps to ensure that the measure was attached to the city’s special land use permit, proposing to impose a condition on the approval that the developers remove the elements of the lot that are not up to the city. coded.

That includes removing the home from the property and meeting stormwater management standards, he said.

However, development cannot yet proceed to construction.

Developers will be required to submit a final site plan, which will go to the planning commission for a detailed review of things like parking requirements and compliance with other local laws, according to Saline Mayor Brian Marl. .

These meetings will be public, with further opportunities for input from residents, the mayor said.

Meanwhile, the developers have adopted an optimistic tone.

“It’s going to work. I’ve seen it work in many communities, Mansour promised. “I think we can provide a benefit to the community. this community.”

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