Planning Board to Consider Medical Marijuana Zoning Amendments: Will Take up New Draft Ordinance at next Meeting

The Everett Planning Board on Monday received a revised zoning ordinance for the purpose of siting possible future medical marijuana dispensaries and operations within the city after the city’s outside legal counsel reviewed the original draft ordinance and suggested several changes.

The draft ordinance, which is necessary to help the city plan for and better administer the state’s medical marijuana legislation, was referred to the Planning Board by the Everett City Council, which will ultimately have the responsibility of adopting such legislation, once the Planning Board has made its recommendation on the bylaw.

“Basically, all that happened tonight was that the Planning Board accepted the amended ordinance,” said Planning and Development Director James Errickson. “They’ll take up the new ordinance at their next meeting a two weeks.”

The original draft ordinance was reviewed by the city’s outside legal counsel, the law firm of Koppleman and Page, and sent back to the Planning Board recently. Errickson explained that Koppleman and Page have recently drafted and reviewed several municipal ordinance related to the siting of medical marijuana operations, which should give the city some level of confidence in their revisions.

“Most of the changes were procedural in nature,” added Errickson. “The suggested, for instance that proponents be required to apply for a special permit and that special permit criteria be established, for instance.”

Other changes included a new provision that would require proponents to provide for outside expert analysis of any proposed operations above a certain size or threshold and that a fee table be established to allow for that outside expert assistance.

The revised bylaw would also allow for a waiver process to the site plan review requirements, in situations where a proponent is planning to open in an existing commercial space, in which the city is already familiar with the building and its characteristics.

Once the Planning Board has completed its review and a public hearing is held on the ordinance, the board may vote to send the new ordinance back to the council for a vote and adoption.

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