NORTHPORT — The topic of marijuana has cropped up again in the Village of Northport.

A special land use permit for a marijuana dispensary was unanimously approved Thursday by the Northport Planning Commission after a public hearing.

But allowing dispensaries in the village must first pass muster with voters who, on Nov. 3, will decide whether to repeal the Recreational Marijuana Establishments Ordinance adopted by the Northport Village Council in October. The measure would replace the ordinance with a new ban on adult-use marijuana businesses.

Petition signatures were submitted earlier this year in a citizens referendum to get the question on the ballot, which is allowed by the Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marihuana Act.

Under the Act, municipalities were required to opt in to medical marijuana to allow those businesses, and to opt out of adult-use marijuana if they didn’t want those businesses.

The Northport Village Council in October passed two ordinances to allow both medical and adult-use businesses. It is the only Leelanau County municipality to do so.

The special use application was made by Leelanau Township resident Daniel Caudill for his Olean’s dispensary planned for 800 Mill St. in the village’s D1 development district, which allows for a mix of residential housing and low impact businesses.

It was approved on the condition that he would add parking, as planners said there aren’t enough spots for the five to 10 employees he will hire. They also want to make sure customers won’t park on the shoulder of the highway.

Caudill has been pre-qualified by the state, which is the first step in the licensing process laid out by the Act, and depending on the outcome of the election, will apply for a license from the village and from the state.

The village application fee is $500; the state’s is $6,000. Both are non-refundable.

Northport zoning Administrator Bill Fuller said the purpose of Thursday’s meeting was to conduct a site plan review. If the plan meets all the criteria, the commission would need a specific reason for turning it down, as marijuana dispensaries are an allowed special use in the D1 district.

“It’s not a referendum on use of the building, which will be dealt with in November,” Fuller said.

The planning commission received 17 letters prior to the hearing — all were read into the record as public comment. Many were supportive of the dispensary, saying Caudill, a designer and branding consultant, has a high level of professionalism.

Others were not, saying they don’t want a dispensary in the partly-residential district.

Planner Kathryn Frerichs said some letter-writers may not have understood that the hearing was not about whether they want a dispensary, but only if the plan satisfies village zoning.

Others attended the meeting via Zoom, though only a few offered public comment.

Caudill built a home in the township several years ago and has been a permanent resident since January. He has designed and worked on branding for other dispensaries in the state.

The dispensary will be built to look like a barn so it blends in with the area, and will take up the front portion of a large Mill Street lot he plans to purchase. If the business does well and Caudill decides to expand, he will need to come back to the planning commission for approval for any addition larger than 200 square feet.

“We’re very aware and cognizant of how this will look and we want this to fit in with the landscape of Northport,” Caudill said.

Business hours will likely be 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. or similar to hours of other retail businesses in the village, Caudill said.

After being licensed, Caudill plans to apply for a delivery license and said 30 percent of his business will be through online sales and delivery.

The dispensary will not be a vape shop, a lounge or a convenience store, he said. It will not promote the weed culture and there will not be people hanging around the building.

“I want something great for Northport,” Caudill said.

The name of his proposed business was inspired by Olean’s Liquor Store in Northport, N.Y., which opened following the repeal of pro- hibition.

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