New possibilities

Hearing on marijuana retailer set for Feb.

HOUGHTON — Another adult-use marijuana retailer could be coming to Houghton.

The Houghton Planning Commission scheduled a public hearing on Feb. 28 for a special land use permit for Nirvana Center Houghton. The business plans to retrofit the former Bambu restaurant on Ridge Road.

In its submission to the Planning Commission, Nu Group LLC, which is managing the property, estimated its sales floor would be about 1,700 square feet. The projected traffic increase from a business that size would be about 5%, Nu Group said.

Restrictions limiting how close the shops can be to schools, churches and other locations limit where the shops can be located. The Nirvana site is the only one permitted on Ridge Road; the rest of the area is along Razorback Drive, where several others have already opened.

“It’s a small sliver of the entire city that meets all the constraints,” said Vice Chair Bill Leder.

Two previous attempts at starting a recreational marijuana business at the site were abandoned before licenses were issued, City Manager Eric Waara said.

The commission also scheduled a special meeting for Feb. 21 devoted to a presentation on the results of the survey conducted for the city’s master plan. More than 600 people responded to the survey, Chair Tom Merz said.

Council members will be invited to attend the meeting.

Once the survey results are presented, master plan committees will work on individual chapters. The city’s timeline calls for revising the master plan and sending it to the council for adoption before the end of 2023.

In other action, the commission:

• Appointed officers for 2023. This year’s unanimous choices were the same as 2022: Tom Merz as chair, Bill Leder as vice chair and Dan Liebau as secretary.

• Recommended the city council approve a lot split where Ralph and Virginia Schaller would sell the east 17.74 feet of their lot in Springwood West to Robert Chalgren Jr.

• Heard from Waara the city would have some amenities, like a “giant living room,” to accompany plans for snow statue building on the pier during Winter Carnival.

• Heard a report from Leder on a webinar he attended on form-based zoning, which regulates the type of buildings, rather than activities, in an area. Nearby examples include Marquette’s Third Street corridor. Commissioners said any implementation of it in Houghton would be restricted to specific areas rather than the entire city.

• During a discussion on redevelopment sites, heard from Waara that Longyear is continuing to do its due diligence on a proposed development in the area behind Walmart. The property does not include the area surrounding the Huron Dam, which has a conservation easement, Waara said.


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