DOWAGIAC – Dowagiac City Council has proposed an ordinance to license the operation and provide regulations for marihuana establishments in the city.
The first reading of the ordinance amending the City of Dowagiac Zoning Ordinance to permit various types of licensed marihuana establishments in certain zoning districts of the city was read at Monday’s meeting.
The motion was moved and seconded to put the ordinance on the table for a second reading at the next council meeting.
Mayor Don Lyons said council had had many discussions on the subject. Dowagiac initially withdrew from the marihuana business in May 2019. He added that when the ordinance was written, a compromise was reached that would not allow marihuana businesses downtown, but would have them rather in the M-51 corridor.
The Dowagiac Planning Commission held a public hearing on July 5th. She recommended that City Council pass an ordinance to amend the zoning ordinance regarding the rezoning of properties near downtown, changes to central business district enactments, and the language of marihuana establishment.
In other cases, the council heard a second reading to amend Chapter 82 of the city code regarding sewer rates. The amendment is approved unanimously.
Sewer rates were last adjusted in March 2019. Sewer rates are generally adjusted annually, but were not adjusted in 2020 due to uncertainties related to COVID-19. Rates will be adjusted by 3% this year and in 2023. The change in rates will be effective on invoices due on or after October 10 and on invoices due on and after October 10, 2023.
Residential residents of Dowagiac will see an increase of $1.67 in September and $1.72 in September 2023.
An ordinance authorizing the issuance of the Junior Lien Revenue Bonds, Series 2022 Sewage Disposal System passed unanimously.
Dowagiac has been working since 2018 to secure funding for a major sewer system overhaul through a loan with the USDA.
In April 2020, the city issued a notice of intent for the bonds. Since then, staff have worked with Dowagiac engineers and the USDA representative to finalize a plan and bid on the projects, as well as compile all required documentation for closeout. The deadline is tentatively set for mid-August.
City manager Kevin Anderson told council he would receive a set of action items to complete the process.
In another action, the council approved Jackson family event requests for a July 16 block party; endorsed Ed’s annual open header cruise on July 28; and endorsed the Rod & Roll Classic Car Show on August 20.
The board has approved a development agreement with Rockwood Properties II, LLC for work associated with the tenant rehabilitation associated with 201-203 Front St.
A resolution has been passed for the sale of 3.83 acres of land in the industrial park to R&R Upholstery.
Cass County Sheriff Richard Behnke spoke to the council about the upcoming renewal of 911 mileage which is on the Aug. 2 ballot. Behnke said the renewal is 1/5 ($0.20) per thousand dollars on all Cass County taxable property. It is for a period of four years from December 1st.
Mileage funds the operations of 911 Central Dispatch. The mileage is estimated to bring in $487,160 in the first year.
Behnke told council members that mileage is used to help the county keep up to date with technology, such as the ability to text 911. Virtually every county in the state, at the exception of the Detroit area, have this new technology.
This came in handy Monday night, as Behnke recounted a story of someone texting the dispatch center for help from the Cassopolis Police Department while he was there earlier Monday night. to address the village council.
Council approved payment of payroll and invoices in the amount of $207,550.16.
The next regular council meeting is scheduled for July 25 at 7 p.m.