New Haven will limit cannabis facility locations under proposed zoning ordinance


NEW HAVEN — Cannabis cultivation and retail facilities will be confined to commercial and industrial areas of the city, with strict boundaries away from schools and each other, modeled on existing laws on the alcohol.

These and other rules were recommended by the City Plan Commission when considering a draft zoning ordinance to be submitted to Alder Council.

The commissioners added some caveats to the ordinance as originally proposed, in particular that it clearly shows street locations on the map of permitted areas.

At his meeting this week, Commissioner Carl Goldfield pushed for a moratorium on the zoning ordinance, pointing out that 37 towns have done so, but the rest of the commissioners, after some discussion, felt the alders were ready. to contiue.

“There’s nothing like real experience (of others) to see how it’s going to work in practice,” Goldfield said of bringing in representatives from cities to see how it worked elsewhere.

A total of 10 communities have approved the zoning of such establishments, while 14 prohibit places for recreational marijuana use.

Hamden declared a moratorium and set up a task force; Norwalk declared a 9-month moratorium; Hartford proposed to allow retailers downtown and in some commercial and industrial areas as well as some mixed-use areas near historic areas; Bridgeport has restricted cannabis businesses to adult-only areas.

Commissioner Edward Mattison said the city should hold a series of meetings with stakeholders familiar with the issue and then a community-wide discussion. Commissioner Ernest Pagan said this “educational piece” would be crucial for the public.

The plan is due to be heard by the Alderman Legislation Committee at 6 p.m. on April 5.

As an organization, commissioners encouraged Alders to have a robust public process to hear from people who already run these types of programs.

Town Engineer Giovanni Zinn said these changes are good for the town, relevant for the Board of Alders. The issues before the city plan are the land use parameters and whether they are compatible with the overall development plan.

Pagan said one of his concerns was the effect on other businesses in the neighborhood.

“I’m ready to move forward, but there are still a lot of questions to ask,” Pagan said,

Chair Leslie Radcliffe said she was also concerned about how quickly the zone changes would be implemented, but felt it was up to City Pan to make a recommendation now.

There were a number of things she wanted Alders to consider in the legislation, but she was told these were already taken care of.

One was to add language that not only excluded parks as areas where businesses could locate, but also greenways and trails. The city plan’s executive director, Laura Brown, assured them they were covered.

The commission was told that financial assistance, as well as practical advice for entrepreneurs in neighborhoods affected by the drug war, would be available under social equity rules set out in state law.

He let it drop by advising the alders to set aside some of the money the city will get from businesses – about 3% of revenue – for people participating in the social equity program.

Mattison was concerned about keeping these businesses running smoothly and avoiding any “hanky-panky” given the amount of money involved, such as the $3 million fee to become a marijuana grower.

Dijonee Talley, policy adviser to Mayor Justin Elicker, said there is a range of fees for the multiple types of licenses, including $500 to $700 for low transportation fees with $3 million for the highest growers. students.

Talley also explained that these businesses are highly regulated, and said those that currently operate the production and sale of medical marijuana fit right in across the state. She said this will also be the case for sales of cannabis for adult use.

Talley said she will provide a list of security mandates that will be in place to secure the commissioners and the general public.

Commissioners agreed with Goldfield that the Alders should consider placing a time limit on special permits the city will be asked to issue.

Talley said there are renewal periods for different licenses in state law.

City Attorney Roderick Williams said special permit limits are an issue in court that could have an impact.

The state legalized the use and sale of marijuana in the Responsible and Fair Regulation of Adult Cannabis Use Act, which went into effect July 1, 2021.

The types of licenses available include: grower, dispensary, micro-grower, retailer, hybrid retailer, food and beverage manufacturer, transporter and product packer.

New Haven may have up to 5 dispensaries, depending on the city, with the number of other licenses to be determined. Statewide, some 56 applications will be issued across all categories in the first round of applications.

The state has already opened applications for licenses, with 312 applications for general licenses and 19 for the special equity program.

In New Haven, entrepreneurs with a special permit may set up in the following activity zones: BA, BA‑1, BA‑2, BA‑2, BB, BC, BD, BD‑1, BD-2 and BD-3. They may also be located in the Commercial Gateway District on Whalley Avenue, as well as heavy and light industrial areas.

Establishments classified as carriers and packagers of products can operate automatically in the zones, without special authorisation.

All businesses must locate 500 feet from the perimeter of schools up to grade 12 and 1,500 feet from each other. They cannot be located in residential areas, parks, cemeteries or airport zoning areas.

The proposal would also keep them out of the River Street municipal development area, as well as plots of the Long Wharf Responsible Growth Plan and the Hill to Downtown Plan.


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