Jessica and Brent Badone, who own Pine Tree Glass Art and Bethel Beverage on Route 2, are requesting a change in the town’s setback law to allow certain marijuana businesses within 500 feet of day care centers. Samuel Wheeler/The Bethel Citizen

BETHEL — Voters will decide Monday whether to change the town’s setback rules to allow retail marijuana and medical marijuana businesses to be 500 feet from day care centers, instead of 1,000 feet.

The special town meeting to amend Chapter 46 of the Town Code will begin at 6 p.m. Feb. 10 at Crescent Park Elementary School on Route 26.

Jessica Badone and her husband, Brent, own Pine Tree Glass Art of Route 2, a smoke and vape glass gallery 700 feet from Nurturing Vines Daycare.

The Badones have been in business since 2014.  Jessica filed for a petition, collected signatures and brought the proposed amendment to the town.

At a public hearing on Monday, Sarah DeCato expressed concerns that many people didn’t know about the amendment.

“I do not think we should rush this vote,” she said. “The general population of our community is not aware of this.”

She recommended the measure be on the June ballot.

Selectman Pete Southam said since Badone’s petition was submitted to the town on Jan. 15, the town must hold a special town meeting within 60 days.

“I’m concerned about the number of voters you’re going to have show up,” DeCato said. “I don’t think it will be a great representation.”

She said the SAD 44 board of directors meets Monday night.

“It sounds like the best we could do is delay to around March 15,” Selectman Andy Whitney said.

Southam said he did not think there would be a significant change in voter turnout in March.

“You’re talking seven more days versus almost a month, I think it could potentially draw more people,” DeCato replied.

After the hearing, a motion for a March 12 special town meeting failed, 2-3, with Michele Varuolo Cole and Andy Whitney in favor and Souther, Lloyd Sweetser and Lori Swain opposed.

In other business, Whitney submitted his letter of resignation, effective March 1, because he has taken a job as an investigator for the Office of the State Fire Marshal that requires him to move out of town.

“It has been a great honor to serve the town of Bethel in this position. I’d like to thank the citizens of Bethel for affording me this opportunity,” Whitney stated in his letter. “Having the opportunity to serve in this capacity, while occasionally frustrating, has more frequently been rewarding and a great learning experience.”

“We are sorry to see him go and will miss his insight on all aspects of the town,” Town Manager Loretta Powers said.

Whitney was re-elected to a three-year term last June. Voters will choose a successor in June.

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: