China planners to visit site of proposed medical marijuana dispensary

by Mary Grow

China Planning Board members heard an application for a trailer-based medical marijuana dispensary at their Nov. 10 Zoom meeting, and scheduled a site visit and a public hearing prior to taking action.

Giovanni DelVecchio, of Augusta, said he is arranging to park his 18-foot-long converted travel trailer in front of the former restaurant building at 857 Route 3, next door to S & T Motors, and use it as a medical marijuana dispensary.

DelVecchio said his plan is “a toe in the water.” If the business succeeds enough to justify expansion, he intends to renovate and move into the former restaurant building.

The trailer will accommodate up to three people at a time, DelVecchio and Codes Officer Bill Butler agreed. Butler said the proposed use is not in the watershed of either China Lake or Three Mile Pond. A right-of-way across the property will need to remain unblocked. If customers are to enter the trailer, he would like more information about the water supply and waste-water disposal plans.

By unanimous votes, planning board members found that DelVecchio’s application is complete; scheduled a site visit to the trailer at its current location on Riverside Drive, in Augusta, for 10 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 21; and scheduled a public hearing at their next meeting, scheduled for Tuesday evening, Nov. 24. Due to coronavirus restrictions, the hearing will almost certainly be by Zoom.

According to a Nov. 12 Associated Press report, DelVecchio, owner of Weed on Wheels Maine, made a similar application to the Augusta Planning Board in October. Augusta officials replied with a moratorium on most retail sales from vehicles. A public hearing to discuss a permanent ban is scheduled as part of the Dec. 8 Augusta Planning Board meeting.

In other business at the Nov. 10 China meeting, planning board members elected Randall Downer chairman and re-elected Toni Wall co-chairman.

Butler reported on recent activities, including permits issued, inspections and investigations of violations of local ordinances. One of his newer duties, he said, is to make sure town businesses are obeying coronavirus-related restrictions. Businesses that do not conform in a reasonable time are referred to state authorities who can impose fines and if necessary order a business closed.

Butler is retiring at the end of the month. He said he has offered to remain available to assist his successor with issues left unfinished as his tenure ends.

Before adjourning, board members unanimously voted to formally and publicly thank former chairman Tom Miragliuolo for his service to the town. Miragliuolo did not seek another term on the board at the Nov. 3 local election, and when he received the largest number of write-in ballots declined to serve.

There are currently two vacant planning board positions, representing the two southern districts in town.


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