Town Drafts Medical Cannabis Bylaw

With the weeks seeming to fly by, the Mattapoisett Planning Board reviewed a bylaw draft that would regulate medical cannabis sales in the town. Such a bylaw would have to be accepted at the Fall Special Town Meeting scheduled for November 26. Further, any bylaw passed at Town Meeting must then be sent to the Attorney General’s office before the December 31 deadline for such proposed new bylaws.

On September 17, Planning Board member Janice Robbins reported to the board what the subcommittee – specifically selected to write such language – had drafted.

Robbins said fellow committee members – Police Chief Mary Lyons, Fire Chief Andrew Murray, Robert Field, Sandra Dawson, Don Bamberger, members of the public health department, and Planning Board Administrator Mary Crain – used language composed by the town’s legal counsel, KP Law, which has also been suggested to other cities and towns preparing similar documents.

Robbins said the subcommittee members were in agreement that the only location in Mattapoisett that would be appropriate for a medical marijuana dispensary is the industrial business park located off North Street. She said the one “glitch” in selecting this location was the state requirement that such facilities be placed at least 500 feet from any location where children might be present, including private residences, parks, schools, churches, etc.

Robbins said that with Phase II of the bike phase scheduled for construction through the industrial park area, the subcommittee members weren’t sure if this business location would be deemed appropriate. She also said the group considered future residential construction in the Bay Club and other buildable sites along the future recreational path, and whether those have to be put into the equation.

In the end, Robbins said the subcommittee members agreed that the bike path should not be a hindrance if a medical cannabis facility was ever proposed in the industrial park and that any undeveloped residential sites also would not be taken into consideration.

The Planning Board members discussed various aspects of a site plan they might be asked to consider in the future, noting their involvement would be just for the site plan itself and not any special permits or Board of Health permits.

Robbins said one thing she thought might be necessary is a surety from any future medical cannabis facility owner. She said that in the event the business became defunct, the Town shouldn’t bear the burden of cleaning up the site. The Planning Board members agreed they could add that as a condition along with local inspections.

The board members moved to send the draft bylaw along to the Board of Selectmen.

In other business, site plan review of Chase Canopy’s application to build an 8,000 square-foot commercial building off Fairhaven Road was continued. Representing the applicant, engineer Robert Field asked if the board would send a letter to the Zoning Board of Appeals indicating that the plan, as submitted, would essentially be accepted once the project has been cleared with the Massachusetts Wildlife Natural Heritage & Endangered Species Program, and that a peer review consultant would review the project.

Also continued were subdivision project hearings for Dennis Arsenault for property located at the end of Snow Fields Road, and from Scott Snow for property located at 8-8R Prospect Road.

A hearing for a Form A Approval Not Required filed by Benjamin Hansbury and Deborah Forter for property located at 237 and 239 North Street was approved.

Also coming before the Planning Board on this evening was Tree Warden Roland Cote who sought and received permission to remove one maple tree located at the corner of Pearl and Church Street, another maple tree located at the corner of North and Church Street, and some 21 mixed varieties along a stretch of Acushnet Road that will allow for the renovation and installation of a new culvert and bridge.

The next meeting of the Mattapoisett Planning Board is scheduled for October 4 in the Town Hall conference room at 7:00 pm.

Mattapoisett Planning Board

By Marilou Newell


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