A nearly full-grown cannabis plant seen at a cultivation operation in Lewiston last month. On Monday night, the Lewiston Planning Board asked the City Council to consider potentially putting a cap on the number of marijuana businesses in the city. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal file

This week, the Buzz is getting even more artistic downtown and potentially weighing limits on marijuana operations in Lewiston.

First up: After the Lewiston Planning Board recommended a zoning change for a Main Street address on Monday night that would allow marijuana business uses there, the board asked the City Council to consider future caps.

City Planner Doug Greene said the board voted 4-2 to recommend that the City Council amend the zoning for 1046 Main St. to allow future marijuana operations. The site is currently limited to just 24 specific uses.

Property owners Scot and Laurianne Warner requested the change.

One neighbor turned out against the proposal and several others emailed the city in opposition.

“The motion included a condition that any future development review application for a marijuana business or store would be considered a major development, and that would have to go before the Planning Board for approval,” Greene said.

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After that, the board made a second motion — this one passed unanimously — asking the “City Council to address and provide guidance regarding the number and possible cap of marijuana businesses in Lewiston, along with consideration of buffers and setbacks of marijuana businesses from residential areas,” Greene said.

Lewiston had the fourth-most adult-use marijuana business licenses in the state, tied with South Portland, as of November.

In a Sun Journal story earlier this month, David Hediger, the city’s director of planning and code enforcement, counted 11 active cultivation licenses, four manufacturing facilities and 14 stores as of November, with six stores and one manufacturing site pending, all a mix of medical and adult-use.

Hediger said the City Council will take up the specific zoning recommendation for 1046 Main St. and possible changes to Lewiston’s marijuana ordinance at its next meeting, Feb. 1.

The City Council and Planning Board held a workshop earlier this month to talk about amending that ordinance, such as adding distance to existing buffers or a cap on the number of businesses.

The Planning Board’s unanimous motion on Monday night, Hediger said, was a way of signaling, “we do have concerns — are there too many in the community, is this something that we should be flagging — and we’d like the council to weigh into that, basically reiterating their earlier position, but I think having a little more concern after having a proposal in front of them where a number of the neighbors expressed concern with the proposed use going there.”

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MORE MUNKA

The new Munka Studio is located at the former home of LA Arts on Lisbon Street in Lewiston. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal

Munka Studio is opening next to Munka Coworking, a space that Lewiston mayor and businessman Carl Sheline said he hopes attracts artists and makers.

“I just feel like it would be a good fit for downtown Lewiston,” he said Tuesday. “We have dedicated space in a shared setting as well as private studios. How the gallery space will be used will be driven by the artists in the space. They will decide the exhibit themes and plan out a schedule that works for them.”

The former home of LA Arts at 221 Lisbon St. has brick a interior with a wide open space and a number of partial walls.

Fees will start at $400.

In six months, Sheline said he’d hope to find there “anything from painting and drawing to basket weaving and crafting.”

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“We’re wrapping up construction now,” he said. “I hope we can be ready for our first member in a week or two.”

EXPLORE MORE

Lewiston Auburn Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Shanna Cox shows off the new Explore + Discover guidebook in downtown Lewiston last summer. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal file photo

Nearly 15,000 wasn’t enough in 2021.

The Lewiston Auburn Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce is planning a print run of 20,000 copies of its updated Explore + Discover guidebook this year.

President and CEO Shanna Cox said 14,500 copies of the first-time guide were distributed in six months last year: More than 500 mailed out across the country upon request, 6,000 used by area employers to attract workforce talent, more than 800 for out-of-town wedding guests to enjoy the area.

“This region has longed for an organized, regional, visual campaign that showcases the positive aspects of Androscoggin County,” said Cox. “The response to the Explore + Discover Guide in 2021 was beyond our hopes, and we were proud to add the digital representation of the guide on DiscoverLAMaine.com. The 2022 guide will have updated and expanded content, digital components and will help promote this region in markets beyond Maine.”

The new guide, which is being finalized March 1, will be 16 pages longer than the first.

Copies can be requested at DiscoverLAMaine.com.

Quick hits about business comings, goings and happenings. Have a Buzzable tip? Contact staff writer Kathryn Skelton at 689-2844 or [email protected]


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