May 24—STAFFORD — The Planning and Zoning Commission voted unanimously last week after a public hearing to adopt regulations that will allow retail cannabis establishments and cultivators in some of the town's business and industrial zones.
WHAT: The Planning and Zoning Commission voted last week to adopt regulations that allow retail cannabis establishments and cultivators in some of the town's business and industrial zones.
RESTRICTIONS: These establishments must be at least 500 feet away from residences, schools, and public buildings, and only one retail establishment and one micro-cultivator is allowed in town, based on population and state law.
The regulations come after the town had previously established a six-month moratorium on cannabis establishments in town that expired at the beginning of the month.
The regulations would allow medical and recreational retail cannabis establishments in both the Highway Business and Highway Industrial zones along Route 190, according to meeting minutes.
Additionally, recreational cannabis cultivators would also be allowed in the town's industrial zones.
The adopted regulations would also allow recreational cannabis manufacturers and packagers in the town's commercial and industrial
Any application by a potential retail cannabis establishment or micro-cultivator would still require a public hearing, according to PZC documents.
PZC member Richard Shuck said Monday that although some residents who came to Thursday's public hearing expressed reluctance towards having cannabis establishments in town, the town will not be overrun with such shops any time soon.
"I think it's important for people to understand that we can only have one retail establishment," Shuck said, citing state law that limits the number of establishments towns can have based on population. He also addressed traffic concerns, saying that any traffic from a new cannabis establishment would likely quickly die down, similar to what happened when similar shops opened in Massachusetts.
Because Stafford has fewer than 25,000 people, it can only host one retail shop and one micro-cultivator.
During Thursday's public hearing, Stafford resident Arthur Guerra raised concerns about the smell of marijuana wafting near residences or town buildings located near a retail cannabis shop or cultivator.
To help address this, the adopted regulations require that any future cannabis establishment or cultivator be 500 feet or more away from residences, schools, daycares, churches, public buildings, and parks, according to town zoning documents. Cannabis establishments will also be required to be at least 1,500 feet away from each other.
Micro-cultivators and medical marijuana production will also not be allowed in any residential building under the adopted regulations.
Ben covers Coventry and Tolland for the Journal Inquirer.