Vassalboro public hearing planned on medical marijuana growing request

by Mary Grow

Faced with a four-item agenda that included three pre-application reviews, Vassalboro Planning Board members have scheduled public hearings on two of them, for Leo Barnett’s requested medical marijuana growing facilities.

The hearings are to begin at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 10 (a week later than the board’s usual monthly meeting night because Nov. 3 is Election Day). Due to space limits at the town office, Codes Officer Paul Mitnik hopes to arrange to use St. Bridget’s Center on Main Street, in North Vassalboro. The location will be announced once it is final.

Barnett described plans to build two new marijuana-growing buildings on Sherwood Lane, and two more on Old Meadow Lane near his current business. Both roads run off Riverside Drive. He intends to rent out the space, he said, perhaps an entire building to one tenant, perhaps half a building.

Residents from both areas voiced a variety of concerns about the proposals, and Brackett said the board had received emailed comments. The decision to hold public hearings was intended to give interested residents a chance to get their information and opinions on the record.

Issues raised included access for emergency vehicles and an adequate water supply for the fire department (required for commercial buildings, firefighter Michael Vashon said); the kind of bathroom facilities required by state plumbing regulations; odor control (odor from marijuana-growing operations is a common subject of complaint, State Representative Richard Bradstreet said); security; effects on nearby property values; and traffic.

After the Nov. 10 hearings, board members intend to review Barnett’s applications for completeness and, if they are voted complete, discuss whether they meet town ordinance requirements.

The other two Oct. 6 applications were from Susan Traylor, to expand a non-conforming building in the Webber Pond shoreland, and from Jeremy Soucy, to open a used-car business at 24 Webber Pond Road, at the junction with Riverside Drive.

Traylor had a 2018 permit that expired before work was started. The new application is for a smaller expansion, not toward the water nor toward neighbors, she said. Board members unanimously approved her permit.

Brackett made sure Soucy was aware of information needed for his full application.

 
 

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