Downtown Flint’s proposed first marijuana dispensary gets initial public hearing approval –

FLINT, MI — A key private investor in Flint wants to open the city’s first downtown marijuana dispensary, and the project has taken a baby step forward.

A City Council committee gave initial approval to setting a public hearing to change the zoning of the former Raspberries Rhythm Cafe & Bar, 448 S. Saginaw St., to allow for a retail marijuana business in a meeting Wednesday, June 9.

Another vote of the full council is required before the hearing would be set.

“There’s nothing good being provided by a boarded-up building,” said Phil Shaltz of Shaltz Acquisitions LLC, which acquired the property last year. “We’re taking an old building and totally refurbishing it and adding it to the dynamics of the city.”

Shaltz said the business would provide approximately 25 jobs paying $18 an hour, add tax revenue for the city, and said he has negotiated a contract with Lume Cannabis Co., which would operate the business, guaranteeing money each year to the Flint Community Foundation and another nonprofit that works to provide assistance to city residents.

If the hearing on the zoning for the property is held and council approves the change, Shaltz said he would approach the Salvation Army on West Kearsley Street, which is within 250 feet of the place of worship, about gaining a special regulated use.

5th Ward Councilwoman Jerri Winfrey-Carter, who represents the area, joined the rest of the council in giving initial approval to scheduling the public hearing.

But Winfrey-Carter said she’s not prepared to endorse the project yet.

Although representatives of several downtown businesses have endorsed it, “I’ve got to look out for the residents” living downtown as well, she said.

The Flint Planning Commission recommended against rezoning the property last month, saying the request amounted to spot zoning.

Shaltz is a member of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation Executive Committee. The

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