Orange to hold hearing on marijuana zoning
ORANGE — The Planning Board is considering where medical and recreational marijuana facilities will be allowed in town, and are hoping residents will help determine the answer.
The Planning Board is holding a public hearing on Tuesday, Jan. 16, at 7 p.m., at Ralph C. Mahar Regional School, giving residents a chance to weigh in on where such facilities should be located, or if they’d rather see a temporary moratorium be imposed until Dec. 31.
According to Orange Community Development Administrator Adrienne Menges, the Planning Board’s current proposal is that medical and recreational marijuana facilities be allowed only in the Orange Industrial Park and the Randall Pond Industrial Park. Planning Board Chairwoman Mercedes Clingerman explained the two industrial parks would make up a new marijuana overlay district.
Planning Board member John McHale explained the board selected the industrial parks as locations for the proposed marijuana overlay district because they’re highly controlled areas, while still being set apart.
“They’re kind of away from residential zones, they’re kind of away from schools,” McHale said.
Facilities allowed in the marijuana overlay district would include those used “for the cultivation, processing, product manufacturing and retail sale of recreational-use marijuana and medical marijuana treatment centers,” according to the hearing notice.
Another topic to be discussed at the public hearing will be taxation of medical and recreational marijuana facilities. The Planning Board proposes establishing a local tax on sales in addition to the state tax, in accordance with Massachusetts General Law Chapter 64N. The local tax, Clingerman said, may be up to 3 percent.
Both the tax and zoning will come before the public again in the form of two separate articles during Jan. 25’s special town meeting, which will be held at 7 p.m. in Town Hall.
But the Planning Board also has a Plan