EagleHerald Staff Writer

MENOMINEE—A business consultant working for Lume Cannabis Co. asked the Menominee City Council Monday to look into why the company was rebuffed at the Oct. 12 planning commission meeting where it hoped its special use application would be approved.

Questions arose on why the planning commission chairman resigned a day after Lume Cannabis’s special-use application was removed at the last minute from the committee’s agenda.

Attorney Kim Coggins resigned as chairman of the Menominee Planning Commission Oct. 13, a day after the planning commission meeting, he said through an office worker at his law firm. Coggins declined to comment about the meeting or why he resigned.

Lume’s special-use application apparently was removed from the planning commission agenda because of a city staffing issue, said Mark Pontti, an Iron Mountain business consultant working with Lume, during the public comment period at Monday’s city council meeting.

“As some of you might know, Lume’s application for a special use permit was on the agenda for last Tuesday, Oct 12. The requisite notice was published several weeks ahead of time,” Pontti said.

But at the beginning of the meeting, the item was removed from the agenda because a staff report was missing.

Carol “ Cookie” Kramer, a member of the planning commission, confirmed Lume’s special-use application was tabled. “That means they took it off the agenda because we did not have all the information we needed to make the decision. We always have a checklist and we did not have the checklist to go over the pros and cons.”

Michael Scholle, the city code enforcement officer listed on the application, said Tuesday, “I don’t think an appropriate staff report was available at that time.” He declined to comment further.

At the same meeting, a city code enforcement officer provided a staff report for a bank that reportedly submitted its special use application two months after Lume did, Pontti said.

“We don’t understand why one got a staff report and the other didn’t,” he said.

If the city is understaffed, he suggested the city outsource the task of preparing the “staff report” on Lume and said Lume would cover the cost.

“We just want to keep the application process moving along, and we’ll do whatever we can to help.”

Several experts representing the company, including architects, had traveled about 200 miles from Iron Mountain to Menominee for the meeting to present details about the company’s application for a special-use permit, he told a reporter.

City Council Member William Plemel, who is chair of the Judicial and Legislative/Personnel and Labor Committee, said Tuesday he was looking into why Lume’s special use application was removed from the Planning Commission’s agenda. He said he wasn’t aware Coggins had resigned.

“I did talk to the (interim) city manager a little bit about it because they approved one (special-use application) and not the other one. He said the bank was a simple one and this wasn’t simple at all.”

Plemel does not sit on the planning commission and said, “I don’t get involved with the planning commission. I usually don’t.”

Attitude Wellness/Lume received the city council’s approval for a Retail Sales Medical Marijuana license with the stipulation it would be approved for a special use permit for a C-2 District. The company applied to take over the La Cabana Restaurant site at 2812 10th St. and improve the property.

After Monday’s city council meeting, Pontti said postponing the special-use permit process could delay its construction plans for converting the 3,100-square-foot restaurant building into a medical marijuana store. Winter weather could interfere if the company can’t begin construction at the site soon.

The company plans to convert three lots at the two-acre site into a single lot, according to the application for the special-use permit. The building will get a facelift to give it a “discreet presence” with a subdued entrance similar in look to a professional office building. The mansard roof structure and exterior vestibule will be removed and a new roof will allow for higher ceilings on the interior and a solar panel assembly on the exterior.

The rooftop solar system is expected to generate 41,000 kWh in energy annually and support electric vehicles to be used for Lume’s local delivery service. A new stormwater management system will limit run-off to neighboring lots and the right-of-way. Chicago style brick consistent with a historic look is slated to be used for the building’s exterior, and new doors, windows and canopies will be installed.

Inside the building, a customer reception area is designed to screen people as they enter the store. Eligible customers will meet a “budtender” who will accompany them to the sales room and assist with purchases. Customer access will be limited to the reception area and a sales area. Products in the sales room will be for display purposes, and the product will be kept securely stored in a fulfillment center behind the sales counter, the company’s application said.