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Monday, March 18,2013

Kids in the Hall

A vote on dispensary license fees, cap postponed; bike parking rules introduced

by Andy Balaskovitz
Thursday, July 7 — The Lansing City Council postponed a vote scheduled for today on a maximum number of medical marijuana dispensaries it will allow and what their licensing fee will be.

Instead, the Public Safety Committee was to meet today after the Council meeting to try and finalize licensing fees and a cap on the maximum number of dispensaries to be allowed in the city. The normal Monday night Council was postponed till today because of the July 4 holiday.

Meanwhile, based on the dispensary regulation ordinance Council adopted June 27, the existing 41 dispensaries have until Saturday to apply for a license. City Clerk Chris Swope said today that only “three or four” existing establishments have applied for a license. For those existing dispensaries who don’t apply within 10 days: “They would be in violation of the ordinance,” Swope said.

Even though the fees and cap isn’t set, a “preliminary application” is still required, Swope said, adding that they would get billed for the fees once the fees are established.

In other business, 4th Ward Councilwoman Jessica Yorko introduced an ordinance today that would require property owners in certain zones of the city to install bike parking. As the ordinance is written now, Yorko said, the “trigger” for when property owners would have to do so is when they plan property improvements that require the city’s Planning Department to approve a site plan.

Downtown business district properties without off-site parking and single-family residential properties are exempt from the ordinance. However, if properties in the downtown district offer off-site parking, they would need to install bike parking spots equivalent to 5 percent of the number of car parking spots.

“The core of this is to have different ratios of parking for different types of locations based on seating and square footage,” Yorko said.

For instance, a “multifamily residential” property would need to install two bike parking spaces for every 10 dwelling units; churches would need two for every 50 seats in the “main unit of worship”; and library, museums, shopping centers and banks would need two bike parking spaces for every 500 square feet “of usable floor area, with a maximum of 30.” The spaces would have to be within 100 feet of entrances.

The ordinance also sets guidelines for “short-term” and “long-term” bike parking spaces. Long-term spaces, defined in the ordinance as one “that is covered and enclosed on all four sides,” would be required for bus stations and “structures in which more than 40 employees work at any given time.”

Property owners can seek a waiver from the requirements if they can demonstrate a lack of demand for the bike parking spaces or a “financial burden” by the requirement.

Yorko said typical “U-loop” metal bars that you can chain a bike to cost between $60 and $80 to install.

The Council voted unanimously to hold a public hearing on the ordinance at its July 18 meeting.
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