Farwell approves zoning for new business

After hearing concerns from area residents, the Farwell Village Council approved a request to rezone the east side of South Webber Street as “Light Industrial” at their regular meeting August 6.

The property, which includes the former VFW building, was zoned Light Density Residential.

It was recently sold to Ralph and Christine Whitman who plan to move their Coleman business, Whitman’s to the Village.

Carol Raymond, who lives next to the old VFW building, expressed concern that dogs would be kept there. “We already have neighbors with farm animals – goats. They haul their manure down to the river,” she said.

Another resident asked how much their taxes would increase with the rezoning. She was assured they would not change because of the zoning.

According to information provided about the new company, Whitman’s manufactures and distributes products for dog grooming both locally and across the country to major dog shows, distributes animal/beauty barber equipment, grooming equipment, provides grooming tool maintenance and does a limited amount of dog grooming.

The business was established in Coleman in 1995 and is moving due to space restrictions, Ralph Whitman explained. The business will employ four to nine full or part-time employees. They are planning an expansion to the present building. He said approximately 375 pet grooming shops in Michigan are services or supplied on a 6-8 week basis. The company uses two to three small vans for deliveries. They travel to 40-50 AKC dog shows and pet trade shows annually in several states including Michigan, and use three trailers, designed as portable stores/service shops.

In another matter, Zoning Administrator Rod Williams reported that the issue with the former Pop Shop may be finally settled. He said the owner had contacted the building department and made arrangements for inspection of the property. The issue has been ongoing for several years.

Department of Public Works Supervisor John Koch reported on a successful Lumberjack Festival, installation of benches, bike racks and waste containers on Department of Natural Resources property, and outlined costs for signs including stop signs and “slow children” signs. He said he will order four of each.

In other business, the Village Council:

*Approved the motions submitted at the Committee of the Whole meeting including 1. Setting Trick or Treat hours at 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, October 31; 2. Designating Clerk Janet Conlay and President Steven Grim to attend the MERS annual meeting October 3-5; and 3. Accepting the proposal from the Michigan Municipal League’s Compensation Fund to purchase workman’s compensation insurance for $4,276 annually.

*Heard a report from County Commissioner Lynn Grim on County activities and a request for space for a Dental Clinic in the Village.

*Approved the payment of July bills totaling $19,967.66.