SOUTHINGTON — The Planning and Zoning Commission heard testimony on a proposed medical marijuana dispensary on Knotter Drive weeks after voting down a similar plan for Queen Street.
Raj Patel, a partner with About Wellness LLC, of Cromwell, is looking to open a dispensary at 30 Knotter Drive. He chose the location because it is in an industrial area, away from homes.
In rejecting Patel’s first proposed dispensary, planning officials cited its proximity to residential areas. Patel and his representatives emphasized that their application conformed to the town’s regulations on the placement of medical marijuana dispensaries.
“Running a medical marijuana facility is just like running a pharmacy,” said Patel, who operates a dispensary in Milford. “We believe this site is an appropriate location since it’s in a business zone.”
The Knotter Drive dispensary proposal came under the same criticisms from the same opponents of the previous dispensary plan. Members of the town’s anti-drug coalition – STEPS – said allowing the dispensary would further reduce the perceived risks of marijuana use among youth.
“We know that marijuana has adverse effects. But we’re willingly going to put it out there for our kids?” said Christina Simms, the town’s youth services director. “This is why I say, not in our town.”
Two town councilors, chairman and Democrat Chris Palmieri and Republican Victoria Triano, also spoke against the plan.
Planning officials had questions about security measures and the potential influence on surrounding property values.
Commission chairman Michael DelSanto kept the public hearing open and the commission took no action. He said Patel would provide more information.
Southington drew up regulations on medical marijuana dispensaries after the state allowed them in 2012. Patel said that was another reason he chose Southington.