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Detroit City App Step I: BSEED Special Land Use Hearing


The Detroit City Council recently voted to open the second application window for dispensaries, lounges, and microbusinesses. While the actual window won’t open for several more weeks. You can get a head start on the process by completing the first step, your Special Land Use (SLU) application with the City of Detroit BSEED department.


To begin your search, we recommend referring to the provided maps (Dispensary Zoning Map, Grow/Processor Zoning Map) that outline the zoning and spacing regulations for different types of marijuana businesses. However, it's important to note that these maps should only be used as a preliminary guide for exploring potential locations. They do not guarantee land use approval for marijuana businesses.


In accordance with the Detroit Marijuana Zoning Ordinance, all marijuana business locations require Special Land Use (SLU) approval. This means you must consult with professionals such as attorneys, architects, surveyors, or other consultants before purchasing a property or applying for SLU approval. They will guide you through the process and ensure compliance with regulations.


Once you have secured control of a property, you'll need to fill out an application for special land use and submit the necessary documents. Currently, you can apply for zoning approval for various types of uses including Provisioning Centers/Retailers, Growers, Processors, Secured Transporters, Safety Compliance Facilities, Designated Consumption Establishments, and Microbusinesses.


The BSEED Zoning Division will review your application for completeness and ensure it meets the spacing requirements. This review process usually takes about 40 calendar days, although it may vary if there is a high volume of zoning applications.


If your proposed location violates the spacing requirements or falls within a drug-free zone, your application will be denied. However, you have the option to appeal this decision to the Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) within 14 days. It's important to note that BZA waivers / variances will not be granted for spacing requirements.


Assuming your location meets the spacing requirements, the BSEED Zoning Division will proceed with a site plan review. If no corrections are necessary, this review typically takes around 30 days. However, if corrections are needed, you'll have 30 days to provide revisions, and up to three correction rounds will be allowed. After that, the application will be denied.


Once your site plan is approved, the BSEED Zoning Division will schedule your SLU hearing. They will notify you, as well as property owners and residents within a 300-foot radius of the location. Prior to the hearing, you'll receive a zoning clearance check to address any outstanding issues. If your site plan is denied, you can appeal to the BZA.


During the SLU public hearing, you'll present information about your proposed land use, department reports, and consider any community input. If you have any written or verbal support for your project, make sure to provide it to the Hearing Officer. A decision on approval or denial will be issued within approximately 30 days, although this timeframe may be affected by additional information requests or involvement of other City departments. The decision will be issued by the BSEED Zoning Division.


In the event of a denial, the BSEED Zoning Division will provide you with the reasons behind the decision. You can then appeal to the BZA by submitting an application with your denial.


If your application is approved, you'll need to register your SLU grant with the Wayne County Register of Deeds. Although you can proceed with the process before registration, you'll be required to provide proof of registration before obtaining a Certificate of Occupancy.


Next, you should apply for a Building Permit with BSEED via eLAPS/ePLANS. BSEED Plan Review will carefully assess your application, ensuring that the zoning grant is recorded with the Register of Deeds and confirming blight clearance for outstanding fees. They will also verify your zoning clearance. This step must be completed before you receive your Certificate of Occupancy.


BSEED Plan Review will conduct a thorough review of your plans, with 90% of first-cycle reviews typically completed within 20 days and subsequent cycles taking around 10-15 days. If corrections are needed, they will be communicated to you, and you can resubmit corrected drawings as required. There is no limit to the number of correction rounds you may receive. Once all corrections are resolved, BSEED Plan Review will issue your Building Permit.


After obtaining the Building Permit, your contractor can proceed with applying for Mechanical, Electrical, and Plumbing permits for construction. Following this, a series of BSEED Construction Inspections will be required before the final issuance of your Certificate of Occupancy. While you can apply for your Business License with a Building Permit before construction is completed, please note that the license will not be finalized and provided until the final inspections are complete and the final Certificate of Occupancy is obtained.


We hope this guide has provided you with valuable insights into the process of finding a suitable location for your medical or adult use marijuana business. Remember to consult professionals and comply with all regulations to ensure a smooth journey towards establishing your business successfully. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at Cannabis Counsel® Law Firm. Our team has helped dozens of cannabis businesses all over Michigan get their cannabis business off the ground, and we’re excited to help you too.


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