Steps are underway to prepare a site in Westland for a marijuana facility, despite several lawsuits on the issue still being dealt with in court.
A proposal to divide some vacant parcels along Cherry Hill west of Newburgh has been submitted to the city in preparation for a possible marijuana business to locate on the property.
The move, which would divide the vacant parcels, is a precursor before anything is built on the property, said Mohamed Ayoub, the city’s planning director.
“It does have to do directly with setting the stage for the site plan for the marijuana business, but the property owner wishes to do this regardless of whether the marijuana business moves forward or not,” he said. “Both parcels will continue to comply with the minimum lot size requirements in the zoning district of I-2.”
The split went before the city’s planning commission during its meeting July 7 with the commission recommending the move. It now goes to the city council for its review and determination.
The split was being requested to change the size of the lots on the parcels to allow for a smaller detention system for the property, Curt Molino, a developer involved with the property, said.
“This is strictly about a lot split that ties into storm detention,” Molino said. “If you have five acres or more, per Wayne County, you have to have a 100-year detention system for stormwater, which limits the size of our building. If it’s just under five acres, then it’s a 10-year storm detention area, which makes a huge difference in cost for development.”
What will end up on the site is still to be determined, though the current plans call for a marijuana business to locate in that space. The location was selected as one of the several marijuana facilities allowed under the city’s ordinance, which allows for such facilities after the city council allowed it in 2019. Up to five marijuana retail operations are allowed under the current ordinance.
The city council selected several candidates to move forward in the application process earlier this year, though several lawsuits were then filed in opposition to that selection from companies that were not selected to move forward. Those cases remain in litigation in Wayne County’s Third Circuit Court. Such businesses are allowed under the Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marihuana Act, which was approved by Michigan voters in 2018.
Molino said even if a marijuana business does not eventually locate in that space, dividing the parcels is still an advantageous move for redeveloping that vacant property.
“No matter what goes there, whether it’s the cannabis industry or something else, it’s still a better situation for the development,” Molino said.