MUSKEGON, Mich. — A Muskegon property for sale for more than a decade finally sold Thursday and will be used as a marijuana facility, according to the buyer's letter of intent.
Muskegon County Commissioners sold Business Park North to an out-of-state developer interested in turning the vacant land into what could be one of the state's largest climate controlled agricultural growing facilities.
Agricultural Solutions is offering the county $746,000 for the entire business park of over 100 acres.
Despite the land finally selling and the county commissioners accepting the letter of intent by a seven to two vote, city leaders and residents have problems with the proposal.
Ownership, taxing and zoning rights to the land complicate the deal. Business Park North is owned by the county, taxed by the city, and zoned by Dalton Township.
That's one of the reasons the 20 lots and 110 acres have gone unsold over the years, according to Frank Peterson, the Muskegon City Manager.
"It makes it very complicated," Peterson said.
Muskegon County resident Melinda Pego has big issues with the proposal. Especially since developers are asking for no caps on the size and scale of the operation.
"They have required a contingency of no licensing limits for growing, processing, transporting, and testing. They get to do what they want," Pego said.
The land would need to be included in medical and recreational marijuana overlay districts authorized by Dalton Township, the City of Muskegon, or possibly both municipalities.
Other crops could be grown at the site. But the only plant mention in the company's letter of intent is marijuana. The facility would also be marketed to specialty food and beverage businesses, and the floral industry.
Commission Chair Susie Hughes says like the idea or not, it's time for development of the vacant land. "We've had several business interested, and then just walked away," Hughes said.
"It's the only viable offer that's been on this site in decades," Peterson said.
Agricultural Solutions now has 90 days to close with the county. And if they develop on the property, they have agreed to relocate a new bike trail that cuts across the back of the property.
They also told commissioners the development would employ 250 workers within five years.
►Make it easy to keep up to date with more stories like this. Download the 13 ON YOUR SIDE app now.