Wednesday, June 20, 2018
Mayor Domenic J. Sarno announced that the Springfield Planning Board is reviewing the draft Marijuana Zoning Regulations at its meeting on June 20, 2018. The regulations were drafted by the City’s Planning staff as part of the process or implementation in the States new Marijuana laws. The draft draws heavily from the model regulations published by the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission.
The City’s intent in carrying out this process is to ensure the safe operation of Adult Use Marijuana Establishments within the City of Springfield.
The City’s planning process is moving forward under a moratorium that provides time to fully assess the law and to put in place a comprehensive plan to appropriately administer the new laws. The moratorium runs through September 30, 2018. The City Council recently met in a Committee of the Whole to review the draft.
The City’s Planning staff has put together a number of maps in regards to the proposed draft regulations for Adult Use Marijuana Establishments. The maps identify all the proposed zoning districts in which an Adult Use Marijuana Establishment could be potentially located under various scenarios whereby the different uses involving marijuana are allowed under different districts. As currently proposed, all Adult Use Marijuana Establishments would require a special permit from the City Council. The maps show the 500 foot buffer from schools. The maps also include various scenarios for buffers from residential districts. Deputy Director of Planning Phil Dromey stated: “These maps are for discussion purposes only and are only being provided to give a general idea of where these proposed uses may or may not be able to be located. A much more detailed review will have to be completed once final regulations are approved and a specific location is identified.”
The City maintains a website to keep the public informed as the planning process goes forward. The draft zoning regulations as well as the maps are online.
Mayor Sarno stated that, “The City is making progress to assure compliance with the new marijuana law in a fair, comprehensive, and open planning process. I have instructed my internal review team to assure the regulations maintain a proper balance between access, while mitigating potential secondary effects as to security and community impacts”.
The City’s Internal Review Group includes, Health Director Helen Caulton-Harris, Police Commissioner John Barbieri, Deputy Director of Planning Phil Dromey, Code Enforcement Commissioner Steve Desilets, DPW Director Chris Cignoli, and Associate City Solicitor Tashena Davis from the City’s Law Department.
The new state law allows Marijuana Establishments in City’s or Towns unless prohibited by a citywide vote. Smoking marijuana in public is still banned in the same places smoking tobacco is. In those communities where a majority vote approved the law, limitations on the number of Marijuana Establishments can be imposed so long as the number is no less than 20% of the number of licensed package stores licensed to sell alcoholic beverages. Springfield currently has 50 licensed package stores.