Belding eyes cannabis retail, B&B’s
BELDING — The town of Belding is about to license cannabis retailers and bed and breakfasts.
The Belding Planning Commission will move forward with making recommendations to Belding City Council to approve cannabis retail establishments and owner-occupied bed and breakfasts, excluding short-term rentals such as Airbnbs, within the city limits.
At the special planning committee meeting on Thursday evening, commissioners reviewed citizens’ responses to survey questions mailed to residents with the October-December 2022 edition of the Belding Bugle, the city’s newsletter. town.
Planning Commission Chairman John LaClear said he was impressed with the number of surveys the city received from residents in response; 282 for cannabis retail survey questions and 273 responses to bed and breakfast questions.
“I was really impressed with how many people filled out these great suggestions and comments,” he said. “I was really impressed, really happy with the people in the city.”
More than 300 responses to survey questions were returned to the city by the Oct. 24 deadline.
Surveys were drafted to gauge citizen reaction to allowing owner-occupied bed and breakfasts and cannabis retail establishments within city limits. With respect to bed and breakfasts, residents were asked whether they supported allowing bed and breakfasts and/or cannabis retail establishments within city limits, in which districts of zoning they should be allowed and whether or not there should be any restrictions for each.
Specific restrictions on bed and breakfasts presented to residents were months of operation, length of stay, number of guests, number of bedrooms, off-street parking provisions, building maintenance standards and regular inspections.
Restrictions on cannabis retail establishments presented to residents were days/hours of operation, signage, maximum establishment size, location away from schools, daycare centers and churches (1,000 feet under Michigan law), drive-thru sales, and the total number of permitted locations within the city limits.
Of the responses to the cannabis retail survey questions, 150 were yes and 132 were no. Of the 273 responses to the B&B survey questions, there were 226 yes and 47 no.
141 people said they would approve of both medical and recreational cannabis and 18 said they would only approve of medical cannabis. 111 people said such establishments should be allowed in the downtown zoning district, 140 in commercial zoning districts and 90 in industrial zoning districts.
Of the listed restrictions that respondents would like to see placed on cannabis retail establishments, 69 stated days/hours of operation, 49 stated signage, 43 stated maximum size, 88 stated distance by compared to Michigan law-compliant schools/daycares/churches, 34 reported drive-through sales, and 82 reported total installs.
157 people said they supported bed and breakfasts allowed in single-family residential zoning districts, 165 said multi-family residential zoning districts, and 154 said commercial zoning districts.
Commissioner Jenny Bennett echoed LaClear’s sentiments regarding the number of responses received from citizens.
“It was quite remarkable. Most people didn’t just do the basic yes or no check. They actually wrote comments, suggestions and ideas,” she said. “We were very happy that citizens took the time to really think about the issues and provide their input.”
Bennett said the commission will likely recommend to council that the city start with a cannabis retail establishment and owner-occupied bed and breakfasts, as opposed to short-term rentals like Airbnb or VRBO.
Bennett said City Manager Jon Stoppels, with permission from the planning commission, will continue to work with Belding legal representation as well as civil engineering firm Williams & Works to research the legalities involved in settlements. retail cannabis stores and other Michigan municipalities. the size of Belding are done with their orders and regulations.
Also during the special meeting, Planning Commissioner Jinne Esposito resigned her seat as Commissioner due to her intention to leave Belding. Esposito’s term is due to expire on June 20, 2023.
Esposito’s resignation opens up two seats on Belding’s Planning Commission. Depending on Tuesday’s election results, with Chairman LaClear and Vice Chairman Jorel Davis both up for election and re-election to Belding City Council, the future of the commission’s ability to maintain a quorum could be compromised.
The planning commission meets regularly on the fourth Tuesday of each month at 6:30 p.m. and Bennett said it’s not a huge time commitment in his experience, with meetings typically lasting about an hour and a half.
“We stressed to Mr. Stoppels that we need to actively post and try to let people know that we are going to have vacancies and hopefully we can find people interested in serving,” she said.
Those interested in serving on the commission can find the City Councils and Commissions nomination online at belding.mi.us/forms_publications.php or in paper form at Belding City Hall, 120 Pleasant Street.