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Planning Board considers zoning bylaws on marijuana dispensaries, wind turbines

NORTH ANDOVER – A proposal to build a medical marijuana dispensary or a wind turbine is sure to ignite a fight or two.

Most North Andover residents would probably oppose such a project – especially if the planned location were close to their homes. Planning Board member Lynne Rudnicki said last night she would prefer not to have a wind turbine close to her residence.

“They all make noise,” she said.

The Planning Board has begun discussing how to craft zoning bylaws that would regulate where marijuana dispensaries and wind turbines could be located in the town. Ultimately, the May 20 annual Town Meeting will likely be asked to vote on these proposed bylaws, Town Planner Judy Tymon said.

Tymon is working on a couple of drafts of regulations for pot dispensaries and turbines.

No one at this time is proposing to locate either a medical marijuana dispensary or a wind turbine in North Andover, according to Planning Board Chairman John Simons. Should someone try to put one of those facilities here, it would be prudent for the town to be armed with a bylaw governing where it can be located, he said.

“So where are we going to put the weed district?” Simons jokingly asked his fellow board members. The current consensus among them is that should a medical marijuana dispensary come to town, Holt Road, in the industrial zone, would be the best place.

That venue is far away from homes and the downtown, which town officials want to revitalize.

As for wind turbines, Tymon and the Planning Board will be wrestling with the question of which zones would be acceptable locations for them. Tymon told the board Newburyport restricts wind turbines to industrial zones.

Newbury, on the other hand, permits turbines in all zones, she said.

“Some (Newbury) residents have small turbines,” Tymon noted. Newbury allows commercial turbines to be 400 feet high while those at homes are limited to 100 feet, she said.

The board will probably schedule public hearings on the proposed zoning bylaws in March, Tymon said.

“There should be a conversation with the Board of Selectmen,” she said.