NORTH ANDOVER The Board of Selectmen say those seeking treatment at medical marijuana facilities in town should have the opportunity to pick up their prescription in an office away from a landfill.
Town Planner Judy Tymon, representing herself and the Planning Board, brought draft versions of bylaws for locating medical marijuana facilities and wind turbines within town to the selectmen’s meeting on Monday, March 10.
The Planning Board plans to hold a public hearing on both bylaws on April 18 and return to the selectmen thereafter with additional feedback.
Both articles are expected to appear on the warrant for Town Meeting, which takes place in May.
Since their discussions last week, the Planning Department changed little about the proposed zoning and regulations for medical marijuana facilities.
Tymon said the district zoned for medical marijuana facilities is still limited to several acres of industrial zones located at the intersection of Clark Street and Holt Road off Route 125. Medical marijuana facilities located within this area, be they growing operations or strictly a dispensary, must also be set back 500 feet from areas where children commonly gather such as schools, parks or other facilities.
Tymon said the Planning Board believed the location of medical marijuana operations would remain a point of contention going forward, both as a practical matter, such as public safety, as well as a philosophical one.
The selectmen didn’t reach a general consensus about the bylaw that evening, but the five board members did agree to view dispensaries and grow operations as similar to pharmacies.
Selectmen Chairwoman Rosemary Smedile felt the centralized location in town was a good starting point to see dispensaries operate locally and until their further acceptance by the nation at large. She did note the dispensaries should be moved up along Holt Road and visible from the street, similar to a doctor’s office.
“You’re asking sick people to get their medicine where we put our trash,” she said, noting the Wheelabrator plan within the area zoned for medical marijuana facilities.
Selectman Richard Vaillancourt said more of the town’s industrial zones should also be zoned for dispensary and growing operations, similarly comparing them to other medical businesses.
“These are medical facilities, not some seedy (location),” he said.
Tymon said city planners with more liberal zoning for medicinal marijuana facilities in their communities had cautioned against allowing placement of dispensaries next to doctor’s offices to prevent over-prescription of marijuana.
Selectman Tracy Watson, however, disagreed with the planners, saying, “It’s what they do with painkillers. Welcome to America.”
She also said the town should consider adding additional zoning to allow medical marijuana operations within Osgood Landing along Route 125.
Since the Planning Board’s discussions about a zoning bylaw for wind turbine facilities last week, Tymon said the board has decided to limit turbines to 150 feet in height.
In addition to the height restriction, Tymon said the draft bylaw would only allow turbines to be erected that were at least 10 times the diameter of the turbine blades away from the property lines.
“We wanted to keep a pretty good distance from property lines to the turbines,” she said.
The selectmen agreed with the majority of limitations, hoping to avoid seeing construction of larger turbines such as those in Gloucester and Newburyport.
“I think most of us would rather have Mr. Stay Puft in our neighborhoods than this,” Smedile said, referencing the towering and destructive marshmallow man from the movie “Ghostbusters.”
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding