TRAVERSE CITY — A 2020-21 budget and recommendations on recreational marijuana facilities were approved by the Traverse City Downtown Development Authority.

But neither measure passed the DDA board of directors unanimously at its monthly meeting Friday morning.

The longest discussion generated from an agenda item on DDA recommendations to the City Commission on adult recreational marijuana facilities within the district.

The board backed a recommendation allowing only two facilities within the district — none in the C-4b Regional Center District on Front Street from Union to Wellington streets — with a 1,500-foot buffer between facilities.

Several board members expressed the desire to have no adult recreational marijuana facilities within the DDA district. One of those was treasurer Scott Hardy, who still voted for the recommendation because “it’s a fair start and a great compromise.”

Mayor Jim Carruthers abstained from the vote because the City Commission is still investigating the subject. Debbie Hershey voted against the recommendation because of the possibility of too many facilities — both recreational and medical — in the city limits. Vice chair Gabe Schneider opposed the recommendation partly because the limit of two is an arbitrary number that zoning should instead address.

The DDA General fund budget for 2020/2021 with $5,005,500 in revenues and expenditures of $5,002,271 was also approved. The DDA’s Tax Increment Financing 97 fund with expenditures of $2,972 million and the Old Town TIF with expenditures of $531,9000 were also approved.

Board member T. Michael Jackson and Carruthers voted against the motion because of a potential contract with Traverse Connect to develop an expansion and retention program for businesses in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Shifted into the general fund budget after earlier coming from the TIF spending plans, the potential contract with Traverse Connect will require $17,000 from the general fund balance.

Jackson said money for a contract with Traverse Connect could be used in other ways. Carruthers said he had “similar concerns” with tapping into a fund balance when “we have to be very careful with our spending at this time.”

The DDA board also discussed the parking budget the City Commission approved at its June 1 meeting.

The budget will be brought back to the city at its July 6 meeting with an amendment to reduce expenses.

DDA CEO Jean Derenzy said those include saving $100,000 for not resurfacing Lot C and J and cutting utility expenses to save another $30,000.

In other business, the DDA board:

  • Heard an update on the the elimination of vehicle traffic on the 100 and 200 blocks of Front Street from DDA Chief Operating Officer Harry Burkholder. State Street was converted to two-way traffic June 17, Front Street will close June 22 with modifications and painting set for June 23-25 before a June 26 “Opening Day.”
  • Authorized an agreement with Traverse City Light and Power for the purchase and installation of decorative lights at a maximum cost of $2,669.68. It also approved a deal with Pine Street Development One development for half the cost for streetscapes, not to exceed $266,504.
  • Announced the Farmer’s Market will be a physical market only on Saturdays with an online market set for Wednesday evenings.

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