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Boston and Beyond

August 16, 2013

Pot growing center proposed

Town considering zoning bylaw for businesses


According to Town Planner Howard Snyder, the location that Holland is referring to is in the town’s Industrial B zone, which allows light manufacturing. The area has easy access to I-95.

The company, if approved, will develop a cultivation center that would grow, harvest and process the marijuana, which includes curing, drying and packaging the substance grown within secure walls of a building, Tarricone said. The size of the facility would be between 6,000 to 10,000 square feet.

Snyder said there is also a question as to whether this type of entity falls under the same protection granted to agriculture businesses.

As the subject matter is so new, Snyder said, the process of a company locating medical marijuana-related facilities in a community is somewhat unknown territory.

Communities in the state have begun formulating bylaws dealing with the issues that can arise in such a situation, he said, or have passed temporary moratoriums to give themselves time to study and develop bylaws.

Snyder said the Planning Board will hold its first public hearing on a proposed zoning bylaw for medical marijuana businesses at 7 p.m. on Aug. 28 at Town Hall. The bylaw cannot eliminate the possibility of siting a medical marijuana business in the town, he added.

Tarricone isn’t surprised at Georgetown’s move to construct a bylaw about the new medical marijuana distribution industry. Communities across the state are doing the same, he said.

So many communities throughout the state have questions, Snyder said, that the law firm of Kopelman and Paige has developed a sample bylaw that a town can follow and adapt. The firm is the legal counsel for several Greater Newburyport communities.

In Georgetown, Town Meeting must approve zoning bylaws, Snyder said, meaning the earliest that can occur is at fall Town Meeting in October.

Meanwhile, Medical Evolution made a presentation to Newbury selectmen more than a month ago, with the intent of establishing the registered marijuana dispensary in a Kent Street building in Byfield. Owned by R.J. Kelly, the building is located just off I-95. However, shortly after the presentation, Newbury selectmen received a letter from Kelly, stating that he had no intention of leasing his building to the company.

Tarricone said he and Holland aren’t dissuaded that the Newbury prospect fell through. The company is talking to people in 10 other cities and towns in Essex County and still weighing its options, he added.

Georgetown’s draft of the proposed 16-page bylaw is available for review on the Planning Department’s page on the town’s website (www.georgetownma.gov) and in the Planning Office at Town Hall.

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