Planning and Zoning Commissioners have paved the way for microcultivators to build in industrial zones in town.
On April 25, Commissioners voted in favor of a zone text change to the Cheshire Zoning Regulations that will allow microcultivators to apply, by special permit, to establish a business in town.
The revised amendment, dated Feb. 25, defines a microcultivator as “a person licensed to engage in the cultivation, growing, and propagation of the cannabis plant at an establishment not less than two thousand square feet and not more than ten thousand square feet of grow space.”
Commissioner Louis Todisco cast the lone dissenting vote on the zone text change, stating that he considered the application for a period of time, but was concerned such a practice is against federal law.
“I’m not going to vote to authorize an activity, in Cheshire, that I think is probably illegal under federal law,” he said, regarding the growing of cannabis. “I thought about it and I just can’t quite bring myself to (vote for) it.”
While he voted in favor of the change, Commissioner Matt Bowman shared a similar sentiment to Todisco’s.
“This is against federal law,” Bowman said. “(Todisco’s comments) gave me food for thought, but I think that … it fits for the Town of Cheshire, but it does give food for thought, being against federal law. Thank you for that, Lou.”
The text amendment will go into effect on May 21. After that date, microcultivators looking to establish business in town can apply for a special permit, which would be subject to public hearing and approval by the PZC.
Town Planner Michael Glidden said the use would be limited to industrial zoning districts in town, and would have to meet specific performance standards, such as a minimum setback of 500 feet from residentially-used structures and an odor control plan requirement.
All cultivation must be conducted within enclosed buildings, and a microcultivators license must be obtained from the state of Connecticut, according to the text change.
Others spoke in favor of the text change, such as Commissioner Jeff Natale.
“The chair (Earl Kurtz III) mentioned we met three to four times on this,” Natale reflected, before the vote.
“We’ve gone back and forth, inside and out, looked at it many different ways, looked at the zones, looked at the distance from residential (properties) and, for me, it’s something that’s workable.”
Commissioner John Kardaras agreed, adding that this application is “a good case of perfect being the enemy of the good.”
“I think this is a good program,” Kardaras said.