LEWISTON — The Metropolis Council authorised a number of amendments Tuesday that may place new restrictions on the place new marijuana companies could be situated.
The brand new buffers, which will even be measured in a extra streamlined method, influence the required distance between marijuana companies and locations like faculties and childcare amenities, in addition to parks and leisure areas.
After a assessment of the ordinance, metropolis workers mentioned the present system for measuring the buffers is problematic, however the ordinance assessment additionally coincided with issues from officers over the variety of marijuana companies within the metropolis. That led to proposed modifications to the buffers that workers mentioned would doubtless restrict new marijuana companies.
The council tabled a vote earlier this month with a view to additional outline the beneficial modifications.
The so-called “efficiency requirements” will add a 1,000-foot buffer between marijuana companies and faculties, a 500-foot buffer from parks and a 100-foot buffer from any residential property. The council additionally signed off on a 500-foot buffer between two marijuana companies.
In all, the amendments mark a shift in metropolis coverage to a extra restrictive strategy to new marijuana companies. A number of councilors mentioned they’ve heard issues from constituents over the elevated variety of marijuana shops or different makes use of.
“I don’t wish to be seemed upon because the pot capital of Maine,” mentioned Councilor Lee Clement.
A latest workers memo mentioned town has 29 energetic or pending license purposes for develop operations, 27 energetic or pending retail licenses, and 6 energetic or pending purposes for manufacturing licenses. As of November, Lewiston was tied with South Portland for the fourth-most adult-use marijuana enterprise licenses within the state.
Because of the modifications, a number of current companies will now be thought of non-conforming as a result of expanded buffers. David Hediger, director of planning and code enforcement, mentioned license purposes already within the pipeline might be thought of grandfathered.
Most council votes Tuesday had been 5-1, with Councilor Scott Harriman opposed. Harriman has repeatedly mentioned he doesn’t see the logic within the expanded buffers.
He mentioned the 500-foot buffer from parks, which was thought of a compromise with the remainder of the council, would primarily eradicate the downtown from permitting new marijuana companies.
Hediger instructed the council that as a result of how slender some industrial districts are, like on Sabattus Avenue, the residential buffer will reduce into massive parts of accessible makes use of. Some buildings are reduce in half by the buffer. Harriman mentioned some marijuana companies which might be simply establishing store will now be non-conforming.
“It appears type of foolish that for a enterprise that’s not even open but we’re making them non-conforming,” he mentioned.
Hediger mentioned it’s frequent for some companies to be non-conforming in its zone, and that it wouldn’t influence the use except it’s vacant for twenty-four months.
For metropolis workers, the change will eradicate some complications from the earlier ordinance. Presently, the ordinance language states the buffer is measured alongside an “unusual course of journey” between the primary entrance of a enterprise and the primary entrance of a house in a residential district, which workers mentioned has been problematic. The change would measure the buffer “because the crow flies,” or from the property line of the residence to any a part of the marijuana enterprise.
Additionally on Tuesday, the council postponed indefinitely a proposal to amend the zoning at 1046 Main St. to permit for marijuana companies. The vote successfully kills the undertaking.