DALTON TWP. – According to new township Supervisor Jeffrey Martin a lot has been taking place in the township since the last election.
Now under new leadership, the township just recently approved a marijuana ordinance that will allow for up to four dispensaries, and can be either for medical or recreational use. Martin said the ordinance will allow for two on M-120 and another two on Whitehall Road.
He said that the township will begin accepting applications on March 23 and expects them to be filled sometime by the end of that month.
“There are just four available licenses. So, I assume all four will be filled, said Martin.
“[…] And so that’ll be happening over the next [month], I assume by the end of March it’ll be determined which places have the licenses the approval to go through because they basically have to have their ducks in a row with the state paperwork and all of that type of thing. And the first person that gets everything in order, they get approved through the township.”
However, in addition to the new marijuana ordinance, the township also has plans to sell the Wayside Mobile Court, 2900 Whitehall Rd.
“The township is selling Wayside. […] When sewer went in along Whitehall Road up to Michigan’s Adventure things kind of went wrong. It wasn’t the best planned program financially, it bankrupted a number of businesses along that street, and one of them was this trailer park, and so it went back on taxes and it has kind of bounced around a little bit, said Martin.
“But the township has owned it since 2014, and there’s this huge assessment on it that the townships been paid because there’s a bond for it. So, the townships just losing tons of money on this thing and nothing is being done with it.”
“So, the avenue I pursued is that the township needs to write off some money. It’s unfortunate. But, the easiest thing to do would be to push this thing off in the future. I can just transfer a little money around, ignore the problem let the next guy handle it in four years. Or I can try to fix problems, which is what I ran for, to try to fix some of these big problems.”
Martin said the township will lose some money on the sale, but they aren’t willing to accept anything less than $100,000 which can then be applied to the sewer assessment they are paying on.
“Then something will happen with that property, which is huge. Otherwise, it is just 15 acres that has been sitting there vacant for years.”
But the Wayside isn’t the only unoccupied property that might be seeing some changes. Martin said the township has been working with both the City of Whitehall and Muskegon County to transfer Muskegon County Business Park North to Dalton Township.
The situation Martin explains is a complicated one. The business park is owned by Muskegon County, but the City of Whitehall provides emergency services to the area, and Dalton Township is responsible for zoning.
The area was meant to attract businesses to the area, but the odd arrangement between the three government entities – according to Martin – has only been a detriment. The area has failed to attract interest and remains empty.
Another change might be taking place under this new township board is a change to Dalton Township’s sign ordinance.
“Dalton Township as the most restrictive sign ordinance I’ve ever seen. And it just grew over time. […] The previous administration made it more and more restrictive. […] In my first couple of weeks [in office] I talked to several businesses and a couple of churches, said Martin.
“They wanted to redo their signs, renew their signs. But to do that they have to shrink their signs down to be trying to meet the ordinance, which is obviously not what they wanted. And so, we have that in the Planning Commission, and that should be updated within the next month.
“businesses and churches and stuff are happy with that, which seems like a minor thing. But it’s, you know, it’s quite big.”