MANISTEE — The former Manistee Recycling Center in Manistee may soon be a marijuana grow operation location, after Manistee City Council approved the sale of 350 N. Glocheski Drive.
At the Tuesday evening Manistee City Council meeting, council unanimously supported allowing the city to sell the property to Oowee Farms, LLC as it is interested in using the site as a marijuana growing location.
The Manistee Recycling Center on Glocheski Drive was moved to the new Manistee Catholic Central facility on 12th Street in February.
Since then, the Glocheski Drive location has been used as a storage site.
Thad Taylor, Manistee city manager, said at the meeting that Oowee Farms, LLC had been looking for a Manistee location but was not able to find one.
Marijuana grow facilities are limited to the city’s industrial and peninsula districts, according to a memo from Taylor to council in the meeting agenda packet.
Council member Lynda Beaton asked if the business was connected to or in partnership with any of the other intended marijuana businesses in the area.
“Not that I’m aware of. This is a father and son. The business is located in Clarkston,” he said.
Council member Mick Szymanski asked if there was any idea about tax revenue estimates on what the property could bring to the city. But Taylor said that was unknown.
He said the property was recently assessed at a higher price than in 2017.
“A couple of years ago we sold two lots in the industrial park and we ended up with a price that equated to $6,000 an acre and that’s three years ago,” Taylor said.
This year, the assessor estimated it at about $10,000 per acre. Taylor’s memo said the assessor pegged the property’s worth at $22,500.
The city would plan to use a different location that the city already owns on Veterans Oak Grove Drive instead for DPW storage.
Taylor said included in the overall price is an added $27,000, that is “what the city would need to replicate the site now which would be a paved lot, fencing, electric gate — so that the purchaser will be basically paying for us to replicate that site at the other location (on) Veterans Oak Grove Drive.”
Oowee Farms is reportedly willing to pay $49,5000 for the site.
Jeff Mikula, DPW director, said at the meeting that the plan would also be to build a berm to help with aesthetics at the Veterans Oak Grove site in addition to screening.
In the meeting agenda, it says that the move to the Veterans Oak Grove site is “contingent on the (Manistee City) Planning Commission designating the city property on Veterans Oak Grove Drive as a location for essential services, DPW cold storage.”
Cold storage can be things such as computers, computer systems or data that is not in use.
According to a memo in the meeting packet, the district does not allow cold storage.
Taylor said they would approach the planning commission this week to see if it will be classified as essential services in that district.
In his memo, he said the sale of the site to the business would create jobs for the community, put the property on the tax roll and make it “eligible for additional marijuana tax revenue” from the state, while adding no additional costs for the city to replicate the site.
Taylor added that the Veterans Oak Grove Drive site would also be beneficial in case the city ever needed to bring the recycling center back to a different location.
At first, city officials said the transition to Manistee Catholic Central as the new recycling center for city residents went smooth.
But soon after, MCC volunteers and city staff said the center was seeing serious abuse as residents were leaving items on the ground frequently and also leaving trash at the school property.
There is currently a collaborative initiative underway in the state to help keep recycling centers clean while also educating recyclers on accepted items. Manistee County is part of that ongoing program.
The initiative will ultimately train recycling program leaders and staff to become “recycling detectives.”
When the research is complete, the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy, and The Recycling Partnership will partner with local recycling leaders to develop an education campaign tailored to each community’s needs that will help tourists and year-round residents on prevention.
Next year, the initiative will then pair up with the trained “recycling experts to put ‘feet on the street’ to monitor curbside and drop-off site recycling trends and look for opportunities to reduce contaminated materials in their respective communities.”