WILTON — The Planning Board met Thursday, June 4, to continue reviewing ordinances that will be presented at the town meeting that was scheduled for June 15, but is currently postponed due to COVID-19 gathering restrictions set by the state.

The still-working marijuana ordinance currently requires individuals that want to operate an adult-use or medical marijuana business to go through a three-step process with the town after obtaining state required licensing and a background check.

“Get your state approvals and then come to us,” code enforcement officer Charlie Lavin said during the online Zoom meeting.

 

The Wilton planning board will continue to revise the marijuana ordinance which will affect the town’s dispensaries such as Power Plant on Route 2. Andrea Swiedom/Franklin Journal

The individual will have to sign the planning board’s application for business use permit, provide a site plan review checklist and attend a public hearing. Lastly, the individual will present documentation to the select board for review before acquiring a license with the town.

Initially, the ordinance required a background check in addition to the state’s, but this stipulation has since been removed. Licensing for marijuana businesses will have to be renewed annually by the select board, a requirement that is also in place for liquor licenses.

Alden Sylvester, co-owner of the Power Plant dispensary on Route 2 in Wilton hopes that the board will keep in mind the current financial situation during the pandemic while they deliberate the town’s annually recurring operational fees.

“We can’t even apply for federal money right now to keep all six of our employees because we’re a cannabis business and federal won’t allow that,” Sylvester said. “There’s nothing available because we’re still in the gray area; we’re still federally mandated as schedule I with PCP and heroin, and yet half of the state’s voting populace has voted it in legally.”

The planning board will meet on Thursday, June 11, at 7 p.m. for a workshop to continue revising the marijuana ordinance.

Co-owner of Power Plant Alden Sylvester has not been able to apply for coronavirus-related federal aid such as the Paycheck Protection Program loan (PPP) because he operates a cannabis business. Andrea Swiedom/Franklin Journal

Lavin also announced that after taking public comments into consideration, he will be removing with the board’s approval, medical marijuana from the town’s educational, institutional and public uses category. The change would restrict retail marijuana businesses from operating in Wilton’s downtown village.

The board approved the addition of the watershed overlay zone into the town’s zoning maps and to incorporate the watershed overlay and resource protection into permitted use tables. This is in response to the Varnum Pond Watershed Protection Ordinance that was passed in a town meeting last fall to restrict development around Varnum Pond, Wilton’s source of drinking water.

The exploding target ordinance was also reviewed by the board, which restricts the detonation of any device that would explode by impact from a firearm within Wilton’s town limits.

The board approved A&E Trading’s business use application for Amanda Harris to operate her former Augusta-based buy and trade of new and used items store at her new 392 US 2 East location, adjacent to the Big Apple.

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