NORWAY — The Planning Board voted unanimously Thursday evening to authorize an Auburn man to begin a medical marijuana growing operation at 12 King St.

The vote followed a brief public hearing at which Matt New fielded questions from board members, residents and the police and fire chiefs.

The board voted April 27 to approve a site-plan review application for New to lease a former meat-processing plant at 12 King St. The plan includes subleasing the basement and first and second floors to licensed medical marijuana caregivers. They are generally defined as individuals or distributors who can possess, cultivate and provide medical cannabis to qualified medical marijuana patients.

Before the board reviewed the application to ensure New’s proposal met all of the town’s standards, New explained his proposal to the public.

Andrea Burns of Norway Downtown asked New if he had any plans to enhance the facade of the building, the parking lot or the land surrounding the building.

“We’ll dress up the outside of the building as good as we can,” New said.

Planning Board member Anthony Morra asked if there was room to plant flowers around the front of the building.

“No, it’s all tar in front of the building,” New said.

“Yeah, but you can bring in some rocks, drop some soil in and plant something in front,” Morra said. “I’d like to see the area around the building spruced up a little bit.”

Another resident suggested that whiskey barrels filled with soil be placed in front of the building could be filled with flowers.

Early in the hearing, Fire Chief Dennis Yates asked if New could install a Knox box on the house. A Knox box is a wall-mounted safe that holds keys to a building for public safety agencies to use in case of an emergency.

“If you have a fire, it’d make it a lot easier for us to get in there and help out,” Yates said.

New said he would look into installing one.

Police Chief Rob Federico asked the Planning Board what would happen if retail marijuana laws were put in place and somebody decided they wanted to use the building for distribution or processing.

“I understand that Mr. New is looking to grow medical marijuana, but if someone else were to use the building, would they be able to use it for other uses, or would it require a change-of-use?” Federico said.

Chairman Dennis Gray told Federico that the Planning Board was only approving New to lease the building for the growing of medical marijuana.

“If, at a later date, someone wanted to distribute or process marijuana there, that would be something different and would require a change-of-use,” Gray said.

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The Planning Board voted unanimously Thursday evening to authorize Matt New of Auburn to lease the former meat-processing plant at 12 King St, and sublease the basement and first and second floors to medical marijuana caregivers.