BUCKFIELD — Selectmen voted to table taking any action on the proposed Adult Use Marijuana Cultivation Ordinance presented to them by a member of the public until they had a chance to review the document.
At the Tuesday night meeting, Rachel Lerose, who told selectmen she owns property and plans to build in Buckfield, presented the draft ordinance to govern recreational marijuana in town. Selectboard Chair Tina Brooks told Lerose Buckfield has not opted in for recreational marijuana. After the meeting Town Manager Joe Roach noted that authority to do so strictly lies with the voters at town meeting.
Lerose summarized that a yes vote on the ordinance would allow adult use marijuana cultivation facilities to operate in Buckfield if they’re received a license from the state and approval from the Planning Board. The latter includes submitting an odor mitigation and security plan to the Planning Board. It would prohibit such facilities from operating within 1,000 feet of a school and allow the town to collect application and licensing fees for these facilities.
Currently, Buckfield’s Planning Board does not have a quorum and needs more members join the body, Roach said.
Lerose noted that this ordinance won’t have any impact on medical marijuana caregivers in Buckfield.
“Cultivation is already happening in this town under medical marijuana,” she said. “This allows you to accept a licensing fee and it’s much more restrictive than medical” marijuana regulations.
“This was drafted by a regulatory attorney who also does drafting for the state level and the Legislature,” Lerose told the selectboard, but didn’t share the attorney’s name. She added the ordinance was modeled after the town’s Wind Ordinance that is already in place.
She told selectmen she’s willing to tweak the ordinance in hopes to get it on the ballot at annual town meeting June. But if selectmen aren’t willing to place the ordinance on the ballot, Lerose said she would collect signatures to do so.
“I didn’t want to just go out and start collecting signatures,” she said. “I wanted to be respectful of what the concerns are here.”
Selectboard Vice Chair Martha Catevenis said a petition wouldn’t force selectmen to put it on the warrant in June and they could defer putting it on the warrant until June 2021. She made the motion to table taking action on the document so the board could review it.
“It literally came to us last night. It’s not that we’re against it,” Catevenis said about the ordinance.
Resident Penny Horsfall asked if there would be public hearings on the ordinance and Brooks said there would have to be.
In other news, selectmen
•Approved submitting a letter of commitment and application to participate in AARP’s Age-Friendly Community Initiative with surrounding towns Sumner and Hartford to help seniors age in their homes,
•Approved installing information kiosks at the Highway Department and Veterans Memorial Park as requested by the Economic Development Committee. Selectmen voted 2-1 with Brooks and Selectman Cheryl Coffman voting for the measure and Catevenis voting against since her question regarding where the money for the labor to erect the structures wasn’t answered,
•Unanimously approved the Economic Development Committee’s business survey request,
•Voted to

Buckfield officials practice social distancing by sitting six feet apart during an emergency meeting to discuss limiting municipal operations in response to COVID-19 on Monday night. From left are Town Manager Joe Roach, Selectboard Chair Tina Brooks, Selectboard Vice Chair Martha Catevenis and Selectman Cheryl Coffman. Erin Place Buy this Photo

the Fire Department’s Engine 1 as is by sealed bid after the engine seized and can no longer be used by the department.

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