Mayor Domenic J. Sarno announced that the process to implement adult use marijuana laws in the City of Springfield will include a Request for Qualifications/Proposals and application, expected to be issued in early March. The City is inviting applicants to participate in the City’s RFP process through advertising by the City’s Procurement Department on the City’s website as well as newspaper advertising. The timeline will include a time for applicants to ask questions, and then an evaluation by an internal committee consisting of representatives from the Health Department, Police Department, Fire Department, Planning Department, Law Department, Building Department, Public Works Department, Finance Department, City Council and Procurement Department.
These members are Health & Human Services Commissioner Helen Caulton-Harris, Police Commissioner John Barbieri, Fire Commissioner BJ Calvi, Chief of Staff Tom Ashe, Deputy Director of Planning Phil Dromey, Attorney Tasheena Davis, Building Commissioner Steven Desilets, Director of Public Works Chris Cignoli, Chief Administrative & Financial Officer TJ Plante, City Councilor Tracye Whitfield, and Deputy Procurement Officer Theo Theocles.
Mayor Sarno stated that “The City’s intent in carrying out this process is to implement, at the local regulatory level, a careful balance of promoting appropriate access for adult use, while mitigating security and community impacts. The City’s Internal Review Committee is developing a process to assure a fair, comprehensive, and open planning process”.
It is anticipated that the planning process will conclude by the end of May, and will result in the execution of a Host Community Agreement for the successful applicants.
“I’m honored that Mayor Sarno selected me to be part of the City’s Internal Review Committee to see that this new business is implemented in a fair way for all neighborhoods impacted, and all interested applicants, including minority groups and residents,” said City Councilor Tracye Whitfield.
The City’s recently adopted Zoning Ordinance allows dispensaries to be located in areas zoned for business and industrial use with a radius restriction of 500 feet from uses such as schools. Specific distances from residences and residential zoning districts are also included within the regulations. Under the Zoning Ordinance, the issuance of a special permit is required and up to fifteen licenses may eventually be granted. However, dispensaries are new to the Commonwealth, so the community impacts must still be assessed. As such, the City will implement the RFQ/P process in rounds with a limited number of applicants being selected in each round for the execution of a Host Community Agreement. The first round will begin in March and additional rounds will be determined and announced at a later time.
The City will continue to keep the public informed as the process goes forward.