Preston ― The city will allow recreational cannabis retail dispensaries and grow facilities in certain areas, with limits placed on the size of the facilities.
The Planning and Zoning Commission voted unanimously to approve the new zoning bylaw on Tuesday after a public hearing that elicited only one comment from a resident opposed to the bylaw.
The commission squabbled over the size of facilities that would be allowed in town, settling on a size range of 1,000 to 5,000 square feet for retail stores and a maximum of 15,000 square feet for grow buildings. . Commission members set a minimum retail size to avoid possible mobile vending facilities. The grow size was set at the national average size for grow facilities in 2016, according to a report by city planner Kathy Warzecha to the commission.
Commission chairman Art Moran said the commission could change the size limits in the future if necessary.
The PZC initially enacted two six-month moratoriums on licensing cannabis facilities after the state passed a law legalizing the recreational use of marijuana by adults. The moratorium expired on September 20, prompting the new regulations governing cannabis facilities.
Resident Jill S. Keith was the only speaker at Tuesday’s public hearing. She told the commission that the potential tax revenue for Preston was not worth it.
“I just don’t think it’s what I personally want Preston to be known for,” Keith said.
Under the new regulations, cannabis cultivation facilities will be limited to industrial areas, along Route 2 near the Norwich border and along Routes 2A and 117 in Hallville, where there is a former factory.
Cannabis retail outlets are limited to commercial areas, which are scattered throughout the city; the commercial resort area along Route 2 near the border of Ledyard and the River Thames area, which encompasses the former Norwich Hospital property and surrounding land, to a point on Highway 12 south of the Mohegan-Pequot Bridge intersection.
Any proposed cannabis application will require a special exception permit, which requires a public hearing.
The city will require a separation distance of 1,000 feet between a cannabis business and any municipal building, public park or recreation facility, school, preschool or daycare or adult daycare center, drug treatment center or place of worship.