EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

November 30, 2013

Andover to study zone for medical marijuana clinics

ANDOVER — Voters at the 2014 spring Town Meeting may be asked to decide where to allow the sale of medical marijuana in town.

Town Planning Director Paul Materazzo has put together a committee that is working on regulations and a zoning bylaw that would allow the sale of medical marijuana in certain parts of town and prohibit it in others.

So far, the committee, made up of 10 town officials, has identified five locations for a possible dispensary, including recently rezoned parcels of land on River and Dascomb roads, property across from the IRS on Lowell Street, the Doctor’s Park on Haverhill Street and Ballardvale Street in the Lowell Junction area.

“We’re not suggesting one site over another,” Materazzo said. “We are just starting the conversation.”

Furthermore, he said, the town would be open to other locations as suggested by residents at upcoming public hearings on the proposal.

“We are trying to set up a safe place for the distribution of medical marijuana,” he said. “Whether it’s in a doctors’ office park, on Main Street or somewhere else. It will be interesting to see what the political leaders think about where it should go.”

Materazzo said the Planning Board is holding a hearing on Tuesday, Dec. 3, followed by a meeting of the Board of Selectmen Dec. 16 to get more input on the zoning proposal as it takes shape.

“We’ll pick it up again after the holidays in anticipation of submitting something for the warrant at the next Town Meeting,” he said.

Town Manager Buzz Stapczynski said the task of the committee would be to create an “overlay district” so that medical marijuana would be allowed in addition to other existing uses. “If (the bylaw) matures, it will be on for next Town Meeting,” he added. “That’s the plan right now.”

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