This rendering shows the front of a marijuana dispensary to be located at 44825 Van Dyke Ave. in Utica that recently gained site plan approval.
UTICA — The Utica Planning Commission approved what could be the first two marijuana dispensaries to open in Utica next year, at its Aug. 5 meeting.
The two developments would both be located just off M-59 on Van Dyke Avenue.
The businesses would offer a variety of cannabis products to adult consumers.
During the Aug. 5 meeting, members of the commission met with the two representatives for each proposed business and agreed on the requirements by the city that must be implemented by the developments.
Marvin Kiezi, the to-be owner of the development that is proposed to be located at 44825 Van Dyke Ave., attended the meeting.
The development he is proposing will include a single-story, 2,803-square-foot provisioning center with 28 parking spaces. The building will have a 1,300-square-foot basement for storage underneath the building’s rear half that can be accessed by a staircase located in the southwest corner.
The provisioning center’s hours of operation are anticipated to be 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily, and it is expected to have a minimum of 10 employees.
According to the city’s agreement, no fumes, dust, odor or smoke is anticipated beyond the premises.
All proposed lights are to be full-cutoff fixtures outfitted with black light shields to prevent any light trespass on adjacent properties and the right of way.
There is proposed to be 13 trees planted on-site and distributed throughout the property to comply with all site and greenbelt requirements.
In addition to trees, a total of 94 shrubs are proposed. All areas that are disturbed due to construction will be restored and seeded or mulched as necessary. Proposed landscaping improvements are projected to cost $20,000.
The business name has not been decided as of yet; however, it is being referred to as “MK group MI.”
Kiezi said he is excited to possibly be one of the first dispensaries to open in Utica.
“We are excited about this opportunity and look forward to being one of the first provisioning centers in the city of Utica. In our many conversations with consumers, we have heard the barriers to accessing cannabis products, and we want to provide a space that is safe, clean and comfortable. Overall, we look forward to developing relationships with our consumers and providing them with products that fit their needs,” he said.
He said the next step is that they are hoping to begin construction.
“We’ve received site plan approval and plan to begin construction within the next 60 days,” said Kiezi.
When construction is complete and the business opens, they plan to offer customers a variety of products such as edibles and oils, but they also plan to educate their customers.
“We will provide high-quality cannabis products to the medical and adult use consumers, including edibles, oils and premium cannabis flower; we also want to provide a great customer experience when visiting our new 2,800-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility. We plan on educating individuals on the products, practicing compliance and professionalism,” said Kiezi.
He said they have put together a plan to be able to serve customers and the community.
“As an organization, we have created a Community Social Responsibility Plan as a commitment to the individuals within the community, serving organizations and initiatives within the area. We also plan on addressing safe use and safe driving as a way to recognize the importance of safe consumption of cannabis products,” he said.
Some plans Kiezi has for the business’s future include building the brand and collaborating with local community leaders and organizations to improve their relationship with the community.
“Our goals include building a brand that stands behind its quality in the product and service we provide. Our brand will be vertically integrated. We have plans to work with community leaders, donating to local organizations, providing jobs and generating tax revenues within the city of Utica. During this process, we have taken the opportunity to engage with charitable groups in the community and learned about their impacts. As an organization, we believe in the importance of working together. Our hope is to develop relationships, build a good and honest reputation, and overall support the efforts that make this community even better,” said Kiezi.
The development is proposed to open to the public in the spring of 2021.
Kevin Abdallah, a member of a second proposed Utica marijuana business, attended the meeting.
The second proposed development would be located at 44115 Van Dyke Ave., just south of the first development and next to Heritage Park.
A name has not been chosen for the business yet.
The inside of the building will have a waiting room-type setup for customers.
Abdallah said he hopes that opening the business will help to create jobs locally.
“It would be great and hopefully it would provide well-paying jobs and aid in economic growth for the community through a new, emerging industry,” he said.
Abdallah said the next step for the business is to put together building design plans to be approved by the city, and then construction.
“I believe our next step is to get architectural plans drawn up and approved so that we may be able to get construction underway as soon as possible,” he said.
The development is proposed to be open in the first quarter of 2021.
“We would love to be a part of the city’s rebound from any COVID implications, as well as foster growth in the long-term through providing well-paying jobs, investing in the local community and spurring local business for the future,” he said.
For more information on the proposed marijuana developments, call the city at (586) 739-1600.