FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CHICOPEE – On Tuesday, July 3, 2018, the Chicopee City Council passed the Adult-Use Marijuana Zoning Ordinance with minor changes adopted by the Chicopee Planning Board and one change initiated by the City Council. The original Zoning Ordinance was proposed by Mayor Richard J. Kos at the June 5, 2018 City Council Meeting. Three (3) public hearings were held with the Planning Board and the City Council Zoning and Ordinance Sub-Committees before final passage.
The Adult-Use Marijuana Ordinance categorizes the eight (8) License Types detailed by the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission into three (3) groups as follows:
Group A: Business to Business – any entity that executes wholesale sales transactions between itself and a licensed adult-use marijuana establishment.
License Types: Marijuana Cultivator & Craft Marijuana Cooperative.
Applicable Zoning Districts: Industrial.
Group B: Business to Consumer – any entity that executes retail sales transactions involving adult-use marijuana or marijuana products between itself and the general public or non-business entities.
License Types: Marijuana Retailer, Microbusiness & Social Consumption Operator.
Applicable Zoning Districts: Industrial, Business A, Business B, Business C, Mixed Use, Central Business District & Mill Conversion, and Commercial Center Overlay District.
Group C: Adult-Use Marijuana Establishments Not Conducting Sales Operations – an entity that engages in no adult-use marijuana sales transactions of any kind.
License Types: Independent Testing and Standards Laboratory, Marijuana Research Facility & Marijuana Transporter.
Applicable Zoning Districts: Industrial, Business A, Business B, Business C, Mixed Use, Central Business District, Mill Conversion and Commercial Center Overlay District & Commerical A.
Each of the three license groups are distinct in the zoning ordinance, with each having different land use buffering requirements. Group B licenses have the most significant buffer requirements as these licenses involve retail transactions of marijuana products. Sensitive land uses including schools, recreation facilities, childchare facilities, churches, libraries, drug rehabilitation/detoxification facilities among others are protected by established buffers.
During the Planning Board’s public hearing, the Board voted to add two requirements to the zoning ordinance as follows:
- Addition of a definition for ‘adult user’; and
- Requirement that any entitiy that receives a Special Permit will provide the City a bond or deposit of money in order to guarantee the establishment, upkeep and matainenance of the facility and grounds, including any planted vegetaged screen.
The City Council prior to approving the ordinance, voted to increase the 50’ on-site screening requirement to 100’. This screen applies to licenses in Group A and B where the proposed facility abuts any residentially-zoned or used property.
The Zoning Ordinance as passed, does not create a 100’ Residential Buffer; the regulations rely on the above requirement for a 100’ on-site vegetated screen to buffer residential zones and uses.
In order for an adult-use marijuana facility to open within Chicopee it must obtain a special permit from the City Council and all proposals must meet the requirements set forth within the ordinance and as required by the Masscahusetts Cannabis Control Commission.
The Ordinance provides for four (4) marijuana retailer licenses within the City. This is based upon a calculation of the total full sale package store licenses in the City (1 marijuana retailer license per 5 liqueur licenses).
It is important to note that the Adult-Use Marijuana Ordinance is a stand-alone zoning ordinance, that governs Adult-Use Facilties separately from Medical Marijuana Facilties.
Lee Pouliot, the City’s Planning Director in discussing the passage of the ordinance stated, “this ordinance governing Adult-Use Marijuana Facilties is the culmination of nearly six months of work to develop reasonable local regulations that allow for the establishment of adult-use facilties in the City. Planning Staff is confident that the regulations are flexible enough to respond to site specific conditions while being aware of surrounding residential uses throughout the City.”
“I thank the Planning Board, City Council and the City Law Department for their efforts in getting this responsible legislation accomplished,” said Mayor Richard J. Kos.