Town meeting vote on marijuana moratorium, zoning set for Jan. 25

ORANGE — Residents will get a chance to make their voices heard on the hot topic of marijuana at a special town meeting set for Thursday, Jan. 25, at 7 p.m., in the town hall’s Ruth B. Smith Auditorium.

Articles 14 and 15, of the 17-article warrant ask to create a “marijuana overlay bylaw” and then set a temporary moratorium on allowing the institution medical marijuana treatment centers and recreational use establishments in town, respectively.

The new zoning bylaw will create “a marijuana overlay district with specifications for permitted uses and development standards.” This overlay district will be situated within the two industrial parks; locations selected because they are away from the schools and residences.

The moratorium proposed will be in effect until Dec. 31, 2018. During this time, the town will undertake a planning process to address the potential impacts a recreational and/or medical marijuana establishment(s) would have on the town, including future zoning changes and to consider the regulations handed down by the state’s Cannabis Control Commission.

There is also an article asking the town to adopt Mass. General Law Chapter 64N, Section 3, which pertains to imposing a 3-percent local tax on the sale or transfer of marijuana or marijuana products by a marijuana retailer operating within the town.

The planning board will hold a public hearing to explain the three warrant articles on Tuesday, Jan. 16, at 7 p.m. at Mahar in advance of the town meeting.

Also on the agenda are three articles asking to transfer funds from the airport revolving fund for the purpose of covering the town’s portion of state and federal grants available. These articles ask to transfer $4,109.10 for a $2,032,200 grant for the Taxiway Delta Project, $11,500 for a $230,000 grant for an airspace obstruction analysis project, and $5,250 for a $105,000 grant for a wildlife hazard assessment and management plan project.

Article 4 is a request to transfer $11,000 from free cash for the purchase of an inflatable rescue boat and trailer.

Due to the enrollment of additional employees, article 5 asks to transfer $75,000 from free cash the health insurance expense fund.

Article 6 asks to transfer $25,000 from free cash to the legal expense fund due to additional costs related to union negotiations and marijuana legislation.

Article 7 asks to transfer $45,000 from free cash to the unemployment expense.

Article 8 asks to transfer $20,000 from free cash to the police wage overtime budget.

Articles 9 through 12 are dedicated to proposed wording changes to the water department rules and regulations, specifically related to the sections involving charges, payments, payment reminders/shut-off notices, and fees and scheduled.

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Athol Daily News

PO Box 1000
225 Exchange Street
Athol, MA 01331
Phone: (978) 249-3535


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