Neighborhood Provisions Accepted at Alpena, Meds Cafe Expansion Denied | News, Sports, Jobs

News Photo by Steve Schulwitz The newly installed sign for Neighborhood Provisions stands on the side of the road on Washington Avenue. The new marijuana store is expected to open in April.

ALPENA — A proposed marijuana store in Alpena received the green light from the Alpena Planning Commission on Tuesday, while a second was denied a special use permit that will block the project.

The Planning Commission voted to deny the necessary permit to the owner of Meds Cafe, which has a dispensary in Rogers Township just outside Rogers City and planned to open a second store in Alpena.

The proposed marijuana store was to open in the former Northern Tool store.

A petition from residents who live in the adjacent neighborhood expressing their opposition to this business was submitted to the commission, while other residents made public comments against the in-person marijuana store.

Commissioner Matt Wojda said several factors led the commission to reject the application. He said the store’s proximity to a residential area was one, and increased traffic at a problematic intersection – at Ripley Boulevard and Campbell Street – was another.

News Photo by Steve Schulwitz Linda Currier paints part of the entrance to Neighborhood Provisions on Thursday. The new marijuana store has been granted a special use permit that will allow it to open in April. Another marijuana business, Meds Cafe, was denied the necessary permit.

“There were several residential properties colliding with the property, and we thought it would impact adjacent properties,” Wojda said. “Also, it’s a tricky intersection right there, with a bend that has an odd angle, so we were concerned that with more traffic it could potentially become more dangerous and we were concerned about accidents.”

Meds Cafe CEO Josh Kovert says the proposed marijuana store would have had five local owners and a significant amount of money has already been pumped into the building to prepare it to comply with state regulations. . He said the commission’s action shocked him and everyone involved. Kovert said the direction ahead is unknown at this time.

“We are disappointed because we were excited to be part of the Alpena community,” he said. “We’ll take time to digest that and re-evaluate what we can do to still be a part of it.”

The owners of Neighborhood Provisions obtained their special use permit at the meeting. The remodeling of the former Frank’s Key and Lock Shop on Washington Avenue is nearing completion and the store could open in about a month.

Neighborhood Provisions owner Kevin Currier said he is delighted the planning commission has approved the necessary permit and is now focused on opening the store and making its products available to the public. .

“We at Neighborhood Provisions are thrilled and privileged that the Town of Alpena has approved our Special Land Use Permit. This moves us and the city forward in providing safe, accessible and affordable medical and adult cannabis to our community here in Alpena as well as the rest of Northern Michigan,” Currier said. “With the licensing process complete and final touches underway on the building, we look forward to sharing our grand opening and other special celebrations in April.”

It’s been a long road to opening a marijuana store in Alpena.

The city withdrew from Proposition No. 1, which legalized the use of adult marijuana and its sale. Local governments have been allowed to step aside and refuse marijuana businesses to operate.

In early 2020, Alpena City Council decided to allow medical marijuana businesses in the city and selected two businesses to open – The Green Buddha and Lume Cannabis Company. The city lifted its two-store cap for medical marijuana, and neighborhood provisions were added to the mix.

Last year, the council voted to allow the sale of recreational marijuana, which has increased interest, including from Meds Cafe and other developers who have shown interest in the cannabis industry. marijuana.

Alpena’s director of planning, development and zoning, Montiel Birmingham, said Green Buddha had since changed its mind and no longer intended to open a store in Alpena and that Lume had not not yet submitted an application.

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