City still working on revised medical marijuana regulations

The city’s zoning officials are working on revised regulations regarding the location of medical marijuana facilities.
Planning and Zoning Board member John Grant said at the board’s May 3 meeting that the P&Z subcommittee reviewed proposed regulation changes for marijuana dispensaries and production facilities, which were submitted at the board’s April 5 meeting by Mayor Benjamin Blake and Attorney Kevin Curseaden on behalf of the Milford Prevention Council.

In his presentation to the board at the April 5 meeting, Blake said he supports the use of medical marijuana, but said its use needs to be properly administered and located. He asked the board to tighten the regulations to further restrict where these businesses can be located.

Blake said he “shook his head” at the idea that of the nine licensed dispensaries in Connecticut, two would be located within 1.5 miles of each other in Milford.

Grant said at the May 3 meeting that the subcommittee voted not to approve those proposed regulations, which would have made it much more difficult to locate medical marijuana facilities in Milford. Instead, the committee asked the zoning staff to draft a revision to the existing regulations or come up with completely new ones, said Grant.

City Planner David B. Sulkis said he expects to have something to report at the next P&Z meeting.

The board originally adopted regulations for marijuana facilities at its Sept. 16, 2014 meeting. Under those regulations, medical marijuana dispensaries may be located in Corridor Design Development Districts and the Milford Center Design Development District (MCDD), all of which are commercial districts located along major roads. Medical marijuana production facilities may be located in Industrial and Limited Industrial Zones.

In both situations, the facilities may be located no closer than 300 feet to the nearest public or parochial school, as measured in a straight line. Parks were not included in the boundary restrictions because there were no parks within 300 feet of these zones.

Since those regulations were adopted, the state has approved two dispensaries for Milford, Arrow Alternative Care, 255 West River St. in a CDD-1 zone just north of Rt. 1, and Southern Connecticut Wellness and Healing, 318 New Haven Ave., in a Corridor Design Development District-4 (CDD-4) zone near Buckingham Avenue, bordering the Metro North railroad tracks.

The P&Z approved the site plan for the West River Street facility at its April 5 meeting, and for the New Haven Avenue location at its April 19 meeting.

Residents protested the plan for West River Street, saying it is too close to a church, tutoring center, and school, and backs against residential properties.

At the April 5 meeting, a number of residents spoke in favor of the proposed regulations, and many made reference to the proposed facility at 255 West River St. Since that application was a site plan review, there was no public hearing for the plan.