Commission eyes moratorium



BEACON FALLS — The Planning and Zoning Commission is looking to take a proactive approach to the possibility of a methadone clinic or marijuana dispensary coming to town.

The commission is considering placing a moratorium on methadone clinics and marijuana dispensaries. The moratorium would prevent such a clinic or dispensary from opening in town while the commission develops zoning regulations to guide where they could go.

The commission is looking at implementing a 12-month moratorium. A public hearing on the moratorium was held prior to the commission’s Feb. 20 meeting.

Town Attorney Steven Byrne said without specific guidelines it’s possible a clinic or dispensary could come into town under the regulations that dictate medical offices.

Commission Chairman Joe Fitzpatrick said the commission doesn’t want to be in a position where it gets an application for a clinic or dispensary without any specific regulations for them. A moratorium, he said, would give the commission a chance to figure out where in town would be the place for a clinic or dispensary if a company wanted to open one in Beacon Falls.

When the issue came up during its meeting last week, the commission tabled a vote on the moratorium until March in order to gain another month to gather information. 

The commission’s plan comes at a time when a proposed methadone clinic is causing an uproar in Waterbury.

Methadone is used to treat people addicted to heroin or other opioids. New Era Rehabilitation Center has applied to open a clinic at 447 Meriden Road in Waterbury, which is near Chase Elementary School. The proposal has drawn concerns due to its proximity to the school.

Medical marijuana has also seen its share of attention in the state lately.

The legislature approved the use of medical marijuana last year. In January, the state announced four companies had been approved for a license to grow marijuana. Among the applicants approved was Theraplan LLC, which will build a growing facility in Watertown.

The state is expected to award licenses for medical marijuana dispensaries by the end of March.

Across the country, the recreational use of marijuana has been legalized in Colorado and Washington with dispensaries already operating in Colorado. The recreational use of marijuana remains illegal in Connecticut.

Fitzpatrick said the moratorium wouldn’t include facilities to grow medical marijuana, only dispensaries. He said the commission would be in favor of a medical marijuana production facility in Beacon Falls because it would generate good tax revenue for the town.


  1. Perhaps one of the things that’s drawn people to Beacon Falls over the years is that it “is not growing anything.”

    As a regular attendee at town functions, I was frankly surprised that it took 95 percent of Mr. Smith’s term to meet me – and it was really more of a chance meeting than a directed attempt by our town’s top elected officials to say hi to one of his constituents. It’s NOT that big of a town (which is our best attribute).

    It seems we do spend an awful lot of money on projects to bring people or businesses to our town. We’ve spent over three hundred thousand dollars on the Wolfe Avenue property. We’ve spent a fortune on the bridge. (Granted, you need a bridge across the river, but the costs were ridiculous.) The riverwalk IS beautiful, but take the number of people that use it, spread that across 10 years to be conservative, and you still have an incredibly high cost per use.

    We have people that will try to say the town only pays a percentage on projects like this, because it’s state money or federal money. By April 15th, each of us will be acutely aware that the state and the feds aren’t printing their own money.

    Now, how many truckloads of money are we talking about for a plan to re-design access to the industrial park (a project which MIGHT ACTUALLY INVOLVE TAKING PEOPLE’S HOMES) so it’s easier for the trucks (sorry, but that’s what I picture when I hear “industrial park”) to get in and out of said industrial park. Oh, wait – that scheme removes downtown from the picture. I still need someone to explain to me how this is supposed to help our town.

    I have no qualms about paying my fair share of taxes, but at the end of the day I like to see some benefit for those costs. I don’t see the benefit coming from spending millions for the industrial park and (unless federal drug laws change) I don’t see it coming from either the legal or operational costs associated with a marijuana farm.

    (An example of what I call “fair share” thinking is that if you take on rough magnitude 5000 people in town, you take a flat $15 per person per month, in one year you have $900,000 to buy a fire truck – and you’ve saved thousands on legal fees for referendums, or is it referendi when it’s plural and town meetings and lawyers. Note the double mention of our friends in the legal field. If they can bill twice for answering the same question twice, then we can double up on them when opining our expenditures. )

    Our (distant) cousin from the hill is lamenting the idea that we don’t currently have a Resident Trooper on duty. The truth of the matter is that there are likely times that we are in fact sufficiently protected by the State Police. Does anything think our nice little town will remain that way if we start “growing” things ?

  2. Legal or illegal the fact is Beacon Falls is not growing anything. Not legal business or illegal business. Main Street just lost two businesses. Is pot the way to go? I don’t think so but it did revive struggling communities out west. All I know is we need funds to pay for the promises made on my doorstep by Mr. Bielik, more cops, new roads, and oh yea controlled spending.
    I just repaired a flat tire and just read we don’t even have a Resident Trooper on patrol anymore. I can’t wait for this budget season and the outcome of the ladder truck.

    It seems to me the roads were kept in much better shape when Mr. Damico cracked the whip and made those public works boys do their jobs.

  3. Twenty-six of the most powerful American corporations – such as Boeing, General Electric, and Verizon – paid no federal income tax from 2008 to 2012, according to a new report detailing how Fortune 500 companies exploit tax breaks and loopholes.

  4. Sorry cousin, but I’ve read that the fire training facility isn’t really a good location for that. Apparently, It’s in a part of town that’s not accessible. As I understand it, we’d need to re-route roads and build new ramps for Route 8 and then of course, because nobody remembers the days of Miami Vice, we’d need a way to get to the air strip (oops I mean airPORT) over in Oxford. Perhaps the property we already own on Wolfe Avenue might be more favorable.

    It’s been seeming very quiet on this board lately. Who knew a little weed cold tie up so many loose ends in our town.

    Oddly, I must admit though – writing about this makes me a little hungry.

    On a serious note, that we could go from being a community that uses surplus food from the community gardens to feed the hungry in our area, to a community that wants to profit from the production of illegal drugs (just checked again – no change in the federal law) is criminal. Literally.

  5. You go cousin. We do have the perfect location for the weed right next to the fire training facility. After all, it would just a little more smoke!

  6. “good tax revenue for the town” Be careful what you wish for !

    Here’s a novel idea : If we could control our spending, we wouldn’t need to stoop to levels of violating the laws of the United States to bring in “good tax revenue”.

    For those keeping track, (like it or not) marijuana is still illegal under federal law. One must wonder if “local legalization” would jeopardize the town’s eligibility for any federal funding that might be available.

    Like for a fire truck.

    Oh, wait. You have to actually ASK for those funds. It seems we’re not even organized enough to ASK for the funds. That’s ok. A little weed will help.

    Come to think of it, the word games around the fire truck grant application (we did, we didn’t, the deadline passed, we voted, but not for that, the money’s there, no it’s not) do remind me of the word games people try to play to justify their drug use.

    That’s ok. I’m sure Commissioner Fitzpatrick would favor a medical marijuana production facility in Beacon Falls just this once. Because we really NEED the good tax revenue. JUST ONE TIME.