Cheshire Planning Board
Hearing: Monday, March 19, 2018 7PM
Present: Donna M. DeFino, Ronald W. DeAngelis, Peter H. Traub, Nick Graham, Sandra Sloane
Absent: Francis M. Griswold
Chairman, Donna DeFino, opened the Informational Hearing by reading the Legal Notice in The Berkshire Eagle as advertised on Saturday, March 10, 2018 and Saturday, March 17, 2018. Copies of the Recreational Marijuana Bylaw to add to Section 8 as a new Section 8.7, Licensed Marijuana Establishments were available to all. Definitions, the Marijuana Overlay District map was clearly defined as well as the Special Permit Requirements, and Filing Requirements were reviewed.
Nineteen individuals were in attendance and signed the sign-in sheet which will be on file.
Donna explained the Route 8 corridor where the business Marijuana Overlay District showed where
a dispensary would be permitted. There were some discrepancies in the areas, but Chris Gruber of the Berkshire Regional Planning Commission will review the overlay map and adjust it as needed.
Donna said the hours of operation would be Monday through Saturday 8am to 8pm and noon to 6pm on Sundays. The regulations would be similar to the Alcohol Beverage Control Commission. Thus, no one under 21 years of age would be able to purchase products nor would there be on-site use.
The audience questioned why Cheshire would only be having one (1) dispensary and one (1) Other.
Donna explained that it depends, according to the ABCC, on how many liquor licenses have been issued and 20% of that number is what is allowed. Therefore, one (1) retail and (1) other which could be cultivation license on a 5 acre and that would have to follow the Massachusetts General Laws for fencing and lighting.
School Street, Resident, Robert Daugherty:
- All LEME’s must be set back at least five hundred feet (500’) from any public or private school or licensed daycare center.
Resident, Eileen Quinn:
- Questioned the house on the corner of West Mountain Road and Route 8 and questioned if changes could be made and what areas are considered business.
- The business area has to follow existing zoning and it wouldn’t be feasible.
- Former resident of Cheshire is interested in possibly applying for a permit. Questioned why only one (1) retail as two (2) or three (3) would offer competition. Donna responded that Cheshire is not a huge area and not everyone in town is for the creation of one (1) retail store. Donna said, “The State determines how many establishments and that there are separate licenses for retail (Medical/Recreational) and 1 other in the AR Zone for cultivation/testing/research. Also, the 3% excise tax would benefit Cheshire – only recreational. More than one retail would be an over saturation for a
town our size. She estimated that half of all residents want it and the other half do not.
BRPC, Chris Gruber:
- Will be cleaning and changing language on page 4 D1. He will be providing additional language for the medical dispensaries and he explained that there are a total of 75 licenses available in the State.
- Inquired about the need for a site plan and if the applications and Planning Board requirements were on the Town website. The answer is yes.
- Felt the green defined area shape on the larger map was different by Whitney’s Farm area and Richardson Street at the other end. He agreed that frontage on Route 8 was the same. Donna said, “Don’t get bound by the minutia of it.” For example, where Superior Springs is located is business but it is not on Route 8. Whitney’s Farm is agriculture and Greenacres and the DCR are on Route 8 and are zoned business.
- Wants to do it right and regulations are a good thing and the municipalities can benefit from it. He is confident that there is a good opportunity for all.
- There will be a warrant on the ballot in June and what, how, when will be decided.
- Donna motioned to close the meeting; 2nd by Nick with a unanimous vote taken.
Carole A. Hilderbrand, Cheshire Planning Board Secretary
Donna DeFino, Chairman
Peter H. Traub
Ronald W. DeAngelis
Sandra Sloane, Alternate member