WILTON — The Planning Board met on Thursday, October 1, for a site visit of Collins Enterprises at 445 US 2 East where a portion of the warehouse is being converted into a medical marijuana cultivation facility. Following the site visit, the board held its meeting and approved Rick Collins’ change of use application from a warehouse to a grow building.

The warehouse is partitioned into three separate grow spaces with Collins leasing two of the spaces to Robert and Jessica Diapolito. The board approved all three growers for Tier 1 licenses which is defined by the town’s ordinance in Article 10, Section E as “up to thirty (30) mature plants (and an unlimited number of immature plants and seedlings) or up to 500 SF [square feet] of plant canopy.” The Tier 1 licensing fee is $250.

As the planning board receives applications from potential cultivators, members are already anticipating needed amendments to the town’s Adult Use and Medical Marijuana Stores, Cultivation
Facilities, Manufacturing Facilities, and Testing Facilities Ordinance. Collins, Robert Diapolito and Jessica Diapolito plan to grow up to 60 plants within 500 sq. ft. which still qualifies them as Tier 1 growers based on the wording of the ordinance.

“We boxed ourselves into this canopy concept rather than possibly, we should’ve stayed with the number of plants,” Board Member Michael Parker said.

Residents approved Wilton’s Adult Use and Medical Marijuana Stores, Cultivation Facilities, Manufacturing Facilities, and Testing Facilities Ordinance at the annual Town Meeting on August 17. Andrea Swiedom/Sun Journal

Wilton’s marijuana ordinance was enacted in August and modeled after Farmington’s 2019 ordinance. Wilton’s ordinance includes four licensed cultivation levels with the permitting fee reaching $5,000 for the highest tier defined at 7,001-30,000 square feet of mature plant canopy with the option of expanding to an additional 10,000 sq. ft. for $5,000.

Board members expressed the desire to change the wording of the ordinance so that the town would receive more revenue in permitting fees if a cultivator were to grow more than 30 plants within a 500 sq. ft. space.

The town’s ordinance also sets limits on the number of medical caregiver cultivation facilities to seven which caused concern for Code Enforcement Officer Charlie Lavin as this also limits potential revenue for the town.

“I am down to the last two,” Lavin said to the planning board after three medical cultivation licenses were granted at the meeting. 

Parker asked why the ordinance limited cultivation since that was essentially comparable to limiting agricultural farms. Lavin said that the planning board could make amendments to the ordinance by holding a special town meeting for residents to approve revisions.

During the site visit, Collins also raised concerns about the ordinance’s limited distinction in regards to odor complaints. The Collins’ grow facility is in close proximity to another cultivation facility which according to Collins, emits an odor that is perceptible on his property. He asked the board how they would be able to distinguish between which facility was emitting an odor if there were complaints.

The board did not have an answer, but said they had noted his observation which they would take into consideration if a complaint did arise.

In other business, the planning board postponed reviewing John Black’s business use application to have a retail garden supply business at 833 US 2 East. Black did not provide the board with a detailed blueprint so the board will conduct a site visit on October 8 before reviewing the application.

 

 

 

 

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