Westfield City Council takes up marijuana resolutions; zoning, number of establishments discussed
WESTFIELD – Resolutions regarding medical and retail recreational marijuana establishments passed first readings at Thursday’s City Council meeting.
One resolution limits the location of marijuana establishments of any kind to property zoned Industrial A. A second resolution limits the number of marijuana facilities to 20 percent of the city’s liquor licenses. This means three establishments, including medical and retail, would be allowed.
The measures will be taken up for the second and final reading at the next council meeting Aug. 16.
Councilor William Onyski pointed out that because the city passed a ballot initiative to allow marijuana sales in the city, it is a “by right use in the industrial district.” He also said that the council was only voting on location and any specific details of a business would have to go through the Westfield Planning Board.
The zoning resolution was met with little opposition, however there was some discussion on the general resolution and the 20 percent limit.
Councilor Andrew K. Surprise said he was more comfortable with a 35 percent ratio and cited surrounding communities that voted down marijuana as his reason. “West Springfield, Agawam, Connecticut voted against this,” he said. “There’s a lot of potential for revenue.”
Surprise, who stated that he did not “partake” in marijuana, also said the hours of operation suggested in the general ordinance could limit potential revenues for businesses because they could sell other items, not just marijuana.
Councilor Brent B. Bean III said he wanted to stick to 20 percent, for now.
“There’s a lot of unknowns,” said Bean.
Councilors Michael C. Burns and Ralph J. Figy agreed.
“This is not ‘the more the merrier’ in my eyes,” said Burns.
Figy suggested the council could re-evaluate the policy and increase the percentage if needed.
“Let’s see what the demand is,” said