Following the Zoning Board of Appeals’ (ZBA) lengthy April 4 review and action on an appeal, which sought to potentially allow a medical marijuana dispensary in an industrial building on Commerce Road, the zoning enforcement officer’s recent decision that rejected such a use remains in effect.
In March, a firm known as 18 Commerce Road, LLC, sought town zoning approval to potentially allow such a dispensary to operate in a partially vacant building at that address, but Town Planning Director George Benson, serving as the zoning enforcement officer, on March 20 turned down that request, stating that the town zoning regulations do not permit such a use.
The firm then appealed the decision to the ZBA because a potential tenant of the building was interested in operating a dispensary there. The 10,240-square-foot building was built in 1978. It is located in a M-5 (Industrial) zone.
Besides a town endorsement to allow a dispensary, such a facility would require approvals from the state’s medical marijuana program, which is administered and licensed by the state Department of Consumer Protection (DCP). The DCP has extensive regulations to control the production, handling, and sale of medical marijuana to people who meet the medical requirements to use the substance.
ZBA members discussed at length the appeal, considering the semantic aspects of the term “retail use” in seeking to determine whether the zoning regulations would allow a dispensary.
Mr Benson said that because the zoning regulations do not specifically allow a medical marijuana dispensary as a permitted use, such a use is, in effect, prohibited.
Attorney Robert Hall, representing 18 Commerce Road, LLC, however, argued that such a use falls under the broad category of “retail use” as listed in the regulations, and thus is allowable.
ZBA members considered both