During the September 25 meeting of the Mattapoisett Board of Selectmen, Planning Board Administrator Mary Crain presented draft language intended to regulate the sale of medical marijuana in the event a permit is granted by the town’s governing bodies.
Crain said that meetings were held with a committee comprised of municipal safety departments, two residents (Sandra Dawson and Don Bamberger), and one business owner (Robert Field), in partnership with the Planning Board to vet the myriad of details associated with creating a new bylaw, especially one on a topic that has elicited diverse reactions.
The draft, which the Board of Selectmen must approve before it can be included at the Fall Special Town Meeting, contains language as to where medical marijuana facilities may be located in town, including facilities that cultivate, package, and transport the plant material.
Crain said the committee had selected the “limited industrial district” located off North Street as the only viable location for a medical marijuana facility. She said that in spite of the route of Phase 2 of the bike path being located in the same area, the committee members agreed it was the only logical location within the town.
Such facilities may not be located within 500 feet of schools or any other locations frequented by children.
According to Crain, the Planning Board would be the permitting body for the town, that the board may require peer review consultants to assist, and that police, fire, Board of Health and the Building Department would also be involved. She said that marijuana business owners would have to submit a business and operation plan, site plan, and security plan. Annual reporting will be required and submitted to the Board of Selectmen and state governing body as well.
Regarding protecting the town against any liability created by a marijuana business vacating the town, Crain said that a surety would be required to cover clean up costs. She said that the town also had the option of including a “host community agreement.”
A host community agreement, as outlined by the Cannabis Control Commission, is an agreement between the host town and the medical marijuana establishment that sets forth the conditions, and may include a fee to the town capped at 3 percent of gross sales.
The selectmen voted to send the draft back to the Planning Board so that a public hearing can be set in advance of the Special Town Meeting.
In other matters, Town Administrator Michael Gagne had good news for those who have lobbied for protection of the historic arch bridge located on River Road. He said that he was in possession of the state mandated requirements for pursuing heavy commercial vehicle exclusion, and that there would be a warrant article asking voters to release funds that will be needed to complete a required engineering study. That report would accompany other documentation for the Massachusetts Department of Transportation.
MassDOT will take the following data under consideration before rendering their decision: vehicle traffic count over a 24-hour period; map of the area with alternate truck routes; physical characteristics of the bridge; types of buildings in the general area; zoning of the street; current traffic controls, if any; and a written letter from the municipality as to the need for the exclusion.
The selectmen also heard from John Muse of the Mattapoisett School Committee who asked the town to consider granting elected officials the option of being included in the town’s health insurance program if the elected official paid 100 percent of the premium cost.
Selectmen Jordan Collyer said, “I don’t see a problem,” but wanted to make sure town counsel reviewed the proposed benefit option. Collyer was especially concerned about officials who may not be re-elected or who step down from office.
Selectmen Tyler Macallister and Paul Silva concurred with Collyer, who asked Gagne to return in two weeks with a draft agreement letter for their review.
Gagne reported that new information regarding scenic roadways in the community had been posted on the town’s website to try and help property owners understand the restrictions imposed on trees along designated roads.
“Lots are being cleared; we’ve had two recent incidents of trees being removed without permission,” Gagne said. He added that the public needs to be aware that trees are not to be cleared without first contacting the Planning Board for permission if the trees are in the easement along the scenic roads. He said questions could be forwarded to the selectmen’s office. Maps outlining scenic roadways can be found at www.mattapoisett.net.
Gagne also reported that a flier would be mailed out to residents heightening their awareness of the Public Power Community Aggregate, the consortium of 27 cities and towns that purchase electrical power for residents at lower rates then available on the open market. He said the company representing Mattapoisett’s consortium is Public Power Energy. He cautioned residents that fliers might be sent to them from other agencies, and hoped that residents would take the time to understand the differences. He also reminded residents that households are automatically included in the public plan unless an opt-out option is exercised. For more information visit www.mattapoisett.net.
Macallister commented again on the illegal parking taking place at the entrance of the bike path on Mattapoisett Neck Road. Gagne said that cars will now be ticketed and towed away at the owners’ expense.
The selectmen opened the Special Town Meeting warrant that will remain open from September 25 through end of the business day on October 26.
A Veterans’ Day Breakfast will be held on November 12 at the former VFW Hall in Marion, now the Marion Council on Aging, located at 465 Mill Street. The Mattapoisett Council on Aging will provide transportation to those needing a ride. Simply call 508-758-4110.
Flu shots will be provided free of charge at the Southcoast Mobile Medical Unit on October 11 between 9:00 am and 3:00 pm in the Ying Dynasty parking lot.
The next meeting of the Mattapoisett Board of Selectmen is scheduled for October 9 in the town hall conference room at 6:30 pm.
Mattapoisett Board of Selectmen
By Marilou Newell