Proposal Filed for Marijuana Grow Site in Manistee

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MANISTEE – A proposed marijuana grow facility at 51 Ninth St. will remain on hold for the time being.

A special use permit requested by Ken Armor for the building was filed by the Manistee Planning Commission at its meeting on Thursday.

A special meeting may be called in the future when certain stipulations are fulfilled.

Armor owns the building but plans to lease it to operators of a marijuana grow operation. The plan calls for a Class C grower’s license that would allow the cultivation of 1,500 marijuana plants. He does not have this class C license.

The commission filed the Special Use Permit Application and instead requested several stipulations and changes to the plans Armor submitted to the commission.


Items requested by the commission include a legal review and a revised site plan that shows overhead doors and a secure loading area, which are state requirements for grow facilities. Armor’s plan was not entirely clear, according to the commissioners, as to the precise location of these two things.

Manistee County Planner Katie Mehl gave an overview of what Armor needed and what the commission would need to see before it could give final approval to the plan:

• An exterior layout plan to scale;

• A full-scale interior layout plan;

• A possible landscaped buffer zone on 12th Street was discussed;

• A bike rack;

• A special use permit expiry date;

• To see if the condition requires additional lighting to what already exists on the property; and

• If the state requires the commission will need to see a lumen plan.

Many commissioners pointed out that they want the plan to go ahead, but that they need more information from Armor and a legal review from the city attorney on some of the things needed to put in place. the building in compliance with regulations for marijuana grow operations.

Armor expressed concern about any delays, noting rising construction costs and the possibility of the project going ahead even if not approved at the meeting.

“First, tenants are hesitant. I don’t know if anyone is building here, but things like HVAC units have gone from $5,000 to $20,000. The Iron Works transformer power pole has gone from 100 $000 to $900,000 and (a) a seven-month delay — now this thing — if you don’t allow it, I don’t even know if it’ll (one day happen),” Armor said.

Armor said that if the commission approved the special use permit, it would be easier to meet the stipulations and adjustments to the site plan requested by the commissioners.

“My argument is, you approve of it; let me get supplies and everyone’s contracted, so I can kick off the build and keep the price (from going up),” Armor said. “…You have the final say anyway; I mean the CFO and then the state are going to approve it, so you’re at no risk.”

Manistee County Planning Director Mike Szokola also clarified Arnour’s situation to council.

“The first step is always zoning and getting approval for use on the property,” Szokola said. “That’s why he has to wait to move forward with the state (until) we get (the special use permit approved) by you guys…just to clear that up real quick. that’s why it’s a long process. … The state doesn’t move fast.”

It was agreed that a special meeting could be called for the special use permit as soon as Armor could propose a revised site plan and as soon as the commission received a legal review of the proposed plan for the cultivation facility. .

“All of us, Mr. Armor, would love to see this happen…it’s a huge improvement for the area that has been destroyed since around 1986 when Century (Boat Company) moved,” said Mark Wittlief, president of the planning committee. “We just want everything to work for you. And as soon as that information comes back, we can move forward.

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