The town of Oxford continues to seek solutions to get owners of problem properties to clean them up. Neighbors of this site on Whittemore Road have complained for years about it being used as an unpermitted junkyard. Advertiser Democrat File photo

OXFORD — After a public hearing about four proposed ordinance changes and discussion on those changes during the regular selectmen’s meeting last week, the board has scheduled an ordinance workshop to further review one of those proposed changes, on property maintenance.

A number of townspeople attended the hearing to speak against another proposal related to marijuana growers and home occupations, although their concerns were largely unacknowledged by the board.

The workshop to further study problem properties is scheduled to take place ahead of the next regularly scheduled selectmen’s meeting on May 5.

Adjustments to the standing marijuana licensing ordinance would close a loophole that has allowed at least one Oxford homeowner to establish a medical marijuana grow facility in their garage as a “home occupation,” without the municipal license that retail growers located in business and mixed use zones are required to have.

With no local applications requirement for the caregiver, residents of Tiger Hill Road were not made aware that the business would be moving into their neighborhood. Other marijuana growers and facilities who have to apply for their licenses are subject to inspections for approval and their locations are limited to commercial or mixed use zones.

Roger Wulleman, who was a member of Oxford’s committee which wrote the town’s original marijuana ordinance in 2017, and who has remained a vocal critic of the burgeoning industry coming to town, spoke against the lapse that allows cannabis growers to set up in residential areas and stated that selectmen are more concerned with free enterprise than protecting townspeople.


“Residents should have a say in this ordinance,” Wulleman said. “Who drafted it? If you’re going to change the ordinance, you should have a committee like there was back four years ago. It was a mix of the town and residents. I don’t know where we are but I know where the board is. They don’t want to do anything.”

Wulleman said there should be limits placed on how marijuana is grown in residential areas and a cap on the number of retail businesses allowed. He told selectmen he is circulating a petition to present to the board.

It was not the first time he has implored selectmen to convene a citizen-inclusive committee to determine policy on marijuana in town. He addressed the board at a Feb. 6, 2021 meeting about creating a retail marijuana ordinance without residents’ contributions, only to be told the ordinance review committee is made up of town officials.

Tiger Hill Road resident Chuck Howe also criticized the town’s actions on the issue.

“Supposedly a marijuana grow facility is going in,” he said. “That stench from the smell of marijuana is going to cost our neighborhood in resale value. You people don’t want to take that into account to start with because you don’t give a s–t. I don’t think one of you up there cares about the welfare of this town nearly as much as business. This is a community of people.

“You people didn’t even license it. How did that happen? Don’t tell me the state’s the only one. Because if they are, we don’t need you people, the state can license everything,” Howe said.


Codes Officer Kingston Brown explained to the men that the proposed ordinance is meant to rectify the loophole that allowed for a facility to open in a residential area. As town licenses for marijuana businesses are renewed on an annual basis, if the ordinance passes at town meeting, home occupations growers will have to meet the same standards as commercial growers.

Following Wulleman’s and Howe’s statements, selectmen turned to the proposed property maintenance ordinance.

Changing the property maintenance ordinance was Brown’s recommended. It would give the town more authority to bring problem property owners into compliance without having to spend as much time and money in court.

“There are things in the property maintenance ordinance that I cannot support,” said Sharon Jackson, board vice-chair. “There is more work needed on these changes. Specifically, if you look at what’s proposed in the section on yard sales, it states that three days of a yard sale is all that’s going to be allowed. It says everything has to be picked up and put away.”

Jackson then referred to a house across the street from Oxford’s town office that has regular weekend yard sales, but would be out of compliance under the ordinance, to a home on Skeetfield Road that sells tires, and several other homeowners in town that make their livings by selling out of their yards.

“The purpose of this property management ordinance is to clean up junkyard yards that we already have. We have state laws to protect us. We aren’t looking to enforce against people that have yard sales. To me it’s a big problem.”


Brown explained that under state law that the town currently follows, the required process is to take problem property owners to court in order to get them to clean up their junk.

“Even after we’ve gone to court, we’ve seen that it’s still a problem,” Brown said. “This will be so we don’t have to go to court.”

Under the proposed ordinance, the town could have the police department issue citations against repeat problem property owners, speeding up the process to force compliance.

“I’m a little confused,” Wulleman interjected. “You’re talking about an ordinance for property clean-up and people having (storing) tires, for sales in their yards. The issues that we brought up about marijuana grow facilities in residential areas should be looked at. That is more important than a set of tires, or a yard with its grass too high, or having something in front of the house. You’re tabling that ordinance but not one that affects homes and property values? That’s allowed to go on. If you’re going to look at one you have to look at the other, too.”

Select Board Chair Caldwell Jackson moved on to the next agenda item without responding to Wulleman.

The other two ordinances led to no discussion. One is to adjust the Welchville Junction neighborhood at the corner of Routes 121 and 26 from residential to mixed use. The second is a food sovereignty ordinance to protect people’s rights to grow and raise their own food.

While the property maintenance ordinance was the only one of four that selectmen agreed to table and review, no vote was taken on adding the other three to the warrant for the annual town meeting in June.

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