NEW BUFFALO — The New Buffalo City Council during its Aug. 15 meeting tabled taking action on the Planning Commission’s recommendation related to zoning for marijuana dispensaries.

Council member Mark Robertson suggested, and all others agreed, that it would be prudent to wait until the city’s new zoning ordinances have been established (due at the end of September) before revisiting this discussion at either the September or October meeting.

The Aug. 15 meeting kicked-off with public comments supporting passing an ordinance to allow marijuana dispensaries to do business in the city.

Increased job opportunities, financial benefits and the advantages of borrowing “best practices” from other communities (with dispensaries) to regulate and safeguard cannabis operations were some of the benefits presented by residents who took the podium.

Roger Barbour (who owns business and residential property in New Buffalo) also reminded the Council that 65 percent of New Buffalo residents voted in favor of allowing the sale of cannabis and that the city will make $56,000 per dispensary further supporting his position.

During the open discussion, Mayor John Humphrey expressed his disappointment in Viking Marine Company Inc.’s handling of a harbor dredging project.

“We don’t have the option at this point to get another company involved,” he said. Asking the council, “do we want to ask for some compensation since we have pulled up buoys in preparation for their work?”

Tony McGhee of Abonmarche said that the city can expect some monetary allowances from Viking. Work is expected to commence within a week.

Three Oaks resident Steve Diller, (following up to a conversation he had with Humphrey) presented information about the Community Forest program that subsidizes tree replacement in Harbor Country and throughout Michigan.

“Trees provide many environmental benefits in addition to bringing natural beauty to our communities,” said Diller and he asked the Council to encourage residents to apply and take advantage of the subsidies available in order to replace downed or dead trees.

Michelle Hannon, a Democrat who will be on the Nov. 8 ballot running for County Commissioner, touted her history of experience in the community as well as her commitment to support affordable housing in the area.

“We need to assure that our teachers, police force and others employed in New Buffalo can afford to live here and if elected, this will be my number one priority” she stated.

Tabled was the purchase of a sunshade at a cost of $54,400 for the beach concession area

Parks Director, Kristen D’Amico was asked by council members to secure additional bids for the concession sunshade to be presented next month.

In other Aug. 15 City Council business, approvals were given supporting:

• The appointment of Randy Hyrns as hearing officer.

• Naming Straub, Seaman & Allen – Attorneys at Law, to handle prosecution of local ordinance violations.

• Paying TJM Services $251,869.50 for their work on the Dune Walk.

• The purchase of a replacement autoclave for the water department costing $5,780.

• Extending the special event application for Mondays at the Marina until September 26.

• Implementing a Comprehensive Asset Management Plan for the city.

• Hiring E.I. Construction to paint and repair City Hall at a cost of $23,200, and to paint and repair the beach concession building at a cost of $11,300.

• Upgrading the beach bathhouse restrooms with new fixtures – work to be done by City plumbing and Heating at a cost of $11,600.

• Payment of $101,538 to PayJay Inc. for work competed on the Mayhew Street sediment basin.

• The second reading of the Amendment to Zoning Ordinance Chapter 21 which reduces the Zoning Board composition from 7 members to 5.

• The city’s receipt of a $150,000 grant from The Pokagon Fund to contribute to the Marquette Greenway project.

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