BY ANDREAS YILMA
NAUGATUCK — The Zoning Commission closed the hearing on the proposal of cannabis regulations at its Jan. 18 meeting and approved proposed creation of Section 44A Cannabis Regulations in the Borough of Naugatuck Land Use Regulations.
A cannabis subcommittee of Zoning Enforcement Officer Ed Carter, Town Planner Lori Rotella, Zoning Commission Chairman Richard Cool came up with a draft proposal for regulations and combined it with parts of a draft proposal from Zoning Commission member Eileen M. Bronko to come up with the final approved regulations that will go into effect Feb. 6.
The Board of Mayor and Burgesses is expected to develop an ordinance to supplement to the new regulations.
Bronko voted against approving the regulations.
The regulations stipulate: no land, building or structure may be used as a cannabis retail sales establishment to consumers or a cannabis industrial/production establishment unless a special permit application is submitted, an application for a cannabis establishment shall include an odor managesubmitted, an application for a cannabis establishment shall include an odor management plan and no cannabis establishment shall be located within 500 feet from another cannabis establishment or within 500 feet of the property line any borough school, public playground or public park.
Also: the hours of operation for a cannabis retail and/or cannabis medical establishment shall operate between the hours of 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. from Monday through Saturday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sundays. Cannabis establishments will only be allowed in two zones, Industrial 2 (I-2) and New Haven Road Design District according to the new regulations.
Recreational marijuana became legal in the state in July 2021. Retail sale of recreational cannabis in Connecticut started Jan. 10.
“Whether you’re for it or not, cannabis is legal in Connecticut and we need to come up with some regulations to regulate it,” Cool said. “We did a lot of regulations based off the liquor because the committee felt that a lot of liquor requirements are the same.”
Commission member Thomas Kiernan said he wasn’t sure if there are any good locations on New Haven Road.
Cool said there could be some viable places for a cannabis establishment on New Haven Road including the old McGuinn building and the old Planet Fitness location.
“You have to take look at, these places that are going in, you don’t know they’re selling pot. No one knows,” Cool said. “If you saw the ones in Meriden or Hartford, you can’t tell.”
Borough attorney Ned Fitzpatrick said the number of location is up to the Board of Mayor and Burgesses and is an ordinance issue. The zoning commission can designate locations for the establishments, Fitzpatrick said.
“I think the issue with the multiple licenses in a location; my recommendation to you is you defer to the Department of Consumer Protection and their regulations and statue because they’re preempting that field and they’re going to let all the communities know what licenses or multiple licenses are allowed and what aren’t and right now I don’t believe there’s very many multiple licenses permitted.” Fitzpatrick said.
Bronko wanted the 500 feet enforcement to apply to houses of worship and day cares as she’s seen it in a number of other regulations.
Cool said the commission was trying to make cannabis regulations comparable to alcohol regulations as those regulations don’t have that.
Zoning and land use officials chose to allow the cannabis establishments in only one of their two design districts. The other design district is Rubber Avenue Design District. Officials thought Rubber Avenue wasn’t suitable citing a lot of residential, Naugatuck High School, traffic being potentially slow at times and being a thinner road. New Haven Road is also a state road that allows for more travel to other towns such as Bethany.