At Great Barrington Town Meeting, don't amend marijuana zoning bylaw
To the Editor:
With adult use of marijuana now legal in the State of Massachusetts and with the Great Barrington Selectboard opting to not put a moratorium on retail, manufacture and cultivation in place, the Planning Board has worked since last August to craft a zoning bylaw to provide local control for siting marijuana establishments in the Town.
Because we are concerned with providing various commercial development opportunities while balancing the need to protect community character, the Planning Board’s bylaw requires ALL marijuana establishments to undergo site plan review. Site plan review controls the physical aspects of the site development such as lighting, fencing, landscaping, how far back from property lines structures are placed, the exterior color and materials of a building, where driveways and parking go, etc. The zoning bylaw MUST pass or we lose local site plan control.
Because it would be inappropriate to allow marijuana establishments, particularly growing facilities, everywhere, we are proposing to restrict cultivation to those parts of town zoned industrial or to rural areas (R2 and R4 zones), where much of the town’s farmland is already, and only where someone has at least 5 acres of land.
Br Remember, the facilities will ALL need site plan review if we pass our local zoning bylaw. Without a local zoning bylaw, we will have none of these controls.
Because we want farmers to be able to diversify and support themselves, we should not overly regulate small marijuana cultivation facilities. Therefore, the proposed bylaw does not unnecessarily burden small (less than 10,000 square feet of indoor cultivation) facilities with the special permit process. These facilities would still undergo site plan review where the Planning Board will address issues of setbacks, lighting, screening/landscaping and community character.
Because we recognize the potentially bigger impacts of larger indoor cultivation facilities, the Planning Board’s zoning bylaw requires a Planning Board special permit AND site plan review