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    Monday, January 30, 2023

    Preston approves zoning regulations for cannabis facilities

    Preston ― The town will allow adult-use recreational cannabis retail dispensaries and cultivation facilities in certain zones, with limits placed on the size of the facilities.

    The Planning and Zoning Commission Tuesday voted unanimously to approve new zoning regulations Tuesday after a public hearing that drew only one comment from a resident in opposition to the regulations.

    The commission wrangled over the size of facilities that would be allowed in town, settling on a size range of 1,000 to 5,000 square feet for retail stores and a maximum of 15,000 square feet for cultivation buildings. Commission members set a minimum retail size to avoid potential mobile sales facilities. The cultivation size was set at the average size nationwide for cultivation facilities in 2016, according to a report by Town Planner Kathy Warzecha to the commission.

    Commission Chairman Art Moran said the commission could change the size limits in the future if necessary.

    The PZC initially enacted two six-month moratoriums on allowing cannabis facilities after the state passed a law legalizing adult recreational use of marijuana. The moratorium expired Sept. 20, prompting the new regulations governing cannabis facilities.

    Resident Jill S. Keith was the lone speaker during Tuesday’s public hearing. She told the commission the potential tax revenue for Preston would not be worth it.

    “I just don’t think this aligns with what I personally want Preston to be known for,” Keith said.

    Under the new regulations, cannabis cultivation facilities will be restricted to industrial zones, along Route 2 near the Norwich border and along routes 2A and 117 in Hallville, where a former mill is located.

    Retail cannabis outlets are limited to the commercial zones, which are scattered throughout town; the Resort Commercial zone along Route 2 near the Ledyard border and the Thames River Zone, which encompasses the former Norwich Hospital property and land around it, to a point on Route 12 south of the Mohegan-Pequot Bridge intersection.

    Any proposed cannabis application will require a special exception permit, which requires a public hearing.

    The town will require a 1,000-foot separation distance between a cannabis business and any municipal building, public park or recreational facility, school, nursery school or childcare or adult daycare center, substance abuse treatment facility or place of worship.

    c.besette@theday.com

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