sun and news 4-10-2021

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The Sun and News, Saturday, April 10, 2021/ Page 3

Yankee Springs appoints township hall renovation committee
Greg Chandler
Staff Writer
The Yankee Springs
Township board Thursday
approved the appointment of
four local residents to join a
committee that will discuss
the future renovation of the
township hall.
The board unanimously
approved appointing Marcia
Clark, Diane Gaertner, Kelly
Robbins and Sally Smith to
the committee, joining six
township officials and
employees who were
appointed to the group last
month.
“We were looking for up
to six more members from

the community to add to that
committee. We had four peo-
ple that responded,”
Township Supervisor Rob
Heethuis said.
Heethuis and Township
Trustee Dave Van Houten
interviewed the community
residents last week.
“They certainly shared a
lot of experience and a lot of
enthusiasm, to be a part of
the renovation committee,”
Heethuis said. “We talked
about the ups and the downs
and the time it’s going to
take, and they were all excit-
ed about being a part [of the
process].”
The board last month

voted to allocate $300,000 in
its budget toward the renova-
tion project.
Also serving on the com-
mittee are Clerk Mike
Cunningham, Deputy Clerk
Marge VanderMeyden,
Treasurer Deb Mousseau,
Deputy Treasurer Alice
Jansma, Assessor Dan
Scheuerman and Zoning
Assistant Sandy Marcukaitis.
In other business
Thursday, the board
approved:


  • the re-establishment of
    the Veterans Memorial
    Committee, and appointed
    Trustee Larry Knowles,
    Frank Fiala, John Frigmanski,


Greg Purcell, Ron Heilman,
Bruce Campbell and
Marcukaitis to serve on that
committee.


  • spending $2,500 for
    sports equipment for the
    township park, including
    new soccer nets, bases for
    the baseball/softball dia-
    monds, playing lines for the
    baseball and soccer fields
    and rules signage for the
    pickleball courts.

  • the creation of a part-
    time park maintenance posi-
    tion. The job will be a maxi-
    mum of 10 hours per week
    and would pay $12.50 an
    hour, with a yearly maxi-
    mum of $3,000. The position
    could lead to expanded
    opportunities to do mainte-
    nance work at the township


hall and fire station, Heethuis
said.


  • an application for short-
    term rentals that must be
    filled out by homeowners
    looking to rent out their
    homes for a period of less
    than 30 days. The township
    board approved an ordinance
    last month regulating short-
    term rentals in the wake of
    complaints of noise and loud
    parties that had come to the
    attention of the board.

  • appointing Rich
    Beukema, Mike Peiffer,
    Todd Delamar, Purcell and
    Jansma to serve on the Water
    Advisory Board. In a sepa-
    rate action, the township
    board also approved allow-
    ing the committee to contact
    the township attorney and


engineer to discuss water-re-
lated concerns.


  • placement of buoys in
    the lakes of the township.

  • a motion to update the
    water ordinance and fee
    structure at a cost of no more
    than $2,000, including attor-
    ney fees.

  • Clerk Cunningham to
    work with the planning com-
    mission to develop a capital
    improvement plan for the
    township.

  • creating a purchasing
    policy development work
    group that will consist of
    Knowles and Cunningham.

  • Saturday, April 24, as the
    day for the annual township
    spring cleanup day, starting
    at 9 a.m. from the fire station
    on M-179.
    Middleville seeks legal review


of proposed marijuana ordinance


Greg Chandler
Staff Writer
Middleville village leaders
appear to be moving closer
toward approving an ordi-
nance that would allow for
marijuana-based businesses
in the village.
At its committee of the
whole meeting Tuesday, the
village council agreed to
send to village attorney Mark
Nettleton the proposed lan-
guage of an ordinance that
would regulate marijuana
facilities in the village.
At present, the proposed
ordinance would put a cap of
five locations where such
businesses could be set up,
including two for retail that
could sell marijuana for rec-
reational use, medical use, or
both. The remaining licenses
would be allocated for
non-retail uses.
“One could be a processor,
one could be a grower, some-
body else could be a trans-
porter, but these are not retail
establishments. They do not
sell to the public,” Village
Manager Patricia Rayl said.
The council also agreed to
include in the draft language
a ban on any marijuana facil-
ity within 1,000 feet of a
school, church or child care
center.
Trustee Kevin Smith
looked at the potential eco-
nomic development benefits
for the village of allowing
marijuana-based facilities in
terms of job creation.
“The retail is kind of the
face, if you will, of the busi-
ness, but growers and distrib-
utors, those are jobs,” Smith
said. “It’s like how Budweiser
has distribution centers,
they’re kind of warehousey.
People don’t go into there to
buy beer. Those are business-


es where trucks go in and
out. It’s pretty innocuous,
really.”
“[Growing facilities are]
like a greenhouse. You have
people that are growing and
germinating. There’s people
that have to care for the facil-
ity and care for the plants and
whatnot. There’s a signifi-
cant science behind the
growth of marijuana that
isn’t necessarily just a kid
behind a counter selling
weed. It’s more of a skilled
trade,” Smith added.
Jared Biggs, a Middleville
resident who is part of a
group interested in opening a
marijuana-based business in
the village, spoke about the
potential job creation in the
community. Biggs owns a
marijuana growing operation
in Pentwater, which, he said,
has added 15-20 new jobs to
the village.
“Retail’s great, and that’s
going to be the only thing the
public is really going to see
of the marijuana [business],”
Biggs said. “But it’s also
pretty important for the goal
of bringing in revenue and
jobs to Middleville to have
the growers. The growers are
actually going to create more
jobs.”
“You’re only going to have
two marijuana businesses
that are going to be open to
the public. At the [growing]
facility, nobody is allowed to
go in. Any visitors that don’t
work there, they do have to
sign in. It’s very limited. And
then with transporters, a lot
of them don’t even have
physical locations, maybe
just a parking lot and a small
little building. They don’t
develop the product ... They
take [the marijuana] to the
testing labs or straight to the

retailer,” Biggs added.
Under the proposed ordi-
nance, retail businesses
would be limited to highway
commercial zoned areas
along M-37, and would not
be allowed downtown.
Growing facilities would be
allowed only in industri-
al-zoned areas, mainly north
of downtown.
With regard to the distance
between a marijuana busi-
ness and a school, church or
day care, the council was in
favor of the 1,000-foot gap.
“I think it’s not going to
provide a hardship to leave it
at 1,000 feet,” Trustee Mike
Cramer said. “They’re still
going to have plenty of build-
ing space to be able to occu-
py for retail. If it doesn’t
work and we have issues
with it, we can always review
it next year and change it.
But I think starting at 1,
and working our way back is
a better idea than starting at
500 and having to work our
way out.”
Village President Amanda
Fisk supported a 500-foot
limit, similar to what is
allowed for businesses that
sell alcohol in the village.
“I want it to be as much
the same, in terms of this
kind of logistics, as alcohol,”
Fisk said.
Planning and zoning
administrator Brian Urquhart
asked council members
whether they were ready to
support the ordinance before
sending it to the attorney for
his review.
“If we’re sending it to the
attorney, there’s going to be
costs involved,” Urquhart
said. “The intent is to adopt
the ordinance allowing mari-
juana facilities. That’s why
we’re sending it to the attor-
ney ... there’s more afford-
able ways to say ‘no.’”
“It’s a waste of a lot of
money to send it to him, to
have it come back and have
us vote against it,” said
Trustee Tom DeVries, who
helped craft the ordinance as
a member of the village plan-
ning commission.
Six of the council mem-
bers expressed that they
would support the ordinance,
with only Trustee Mike Lytle
in opposition.
The planning commission
must still hold a public hear-
ing before the ordinance is
adopted, Urquhart said.

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dent said the tower, which is
130 feet in height, was erect-
ed in 2016, again with no
prior approval from the
township. Township Planner
Lynee Wells said at the time
that the tower did not meet
the setback requirement, as it
was 26 feet from the south
property line. Commissioner
Stan Bosscher took issue
with the design of the con-
crete base. Commissioners
voted 4-3 to reject the special
land-use request for the Snow
Avenue tower.
Then in July 2020, the
township received word of a
tower at the 96th Street site.

Michwave officials linked
the construction of the tower
to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“They let us know that the
tower was necessary as an
essential service because it
was providing the wireless
communications to a home-
owner who was designing
respirators during ... the
height of the pandemic,”
Wells said at the time.
Commissioners voted
unanimously at that time to
deny Michwave a special
land use for having the tower
at the 96th Street site, citing
lack of compliance with the
township’s setback require-

ments as well as concerns
about the tower’s foundation.
Township Supervisor
Bryan Harrison said he
understands the need for
communications towers in
the township, but the towers
must be constructed accord-
ing to township ordinances.
“We have an ordinance
that allows the construction
of towers,” Harrison said.
“They simply ignored it. It’s
not like we’re prohibiting
them. It needs to be addressed
and it needs to be built
according to process and
code.”

TOWERS, continued from page 1

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