Zoning Amendments for May Town Meeting

We have two zoning amendments scheduled for May Town Meeting.  These will be heard by the Planning Board tonight, April 1, 2013.  The amendments cover how the town will respond to the citizen’s petition initiative from last November’s general election on Medical Marijuana and changes to the definition of Building Height.  The two proposals are found below.

To see if the town of Dennis will amend the Dennis Zoning By-law by adding a new Section 13 Special Requirements for Medical Marijuana Facilities for the purpose of allowing and regulating the location of these facilities in the Town of Dennis.
13  Special Requirements for Medical Marijuana Facilities
13.1  Purposes
13.1.1 To provide for the establishment of Medical Marijuana Facilities in appropriate places and under strict conditions in accordance with the passage of Initiative Petition 11-11 (Question #3 on the November, 2012 state ballot).
13.1.2 To minimize the adverse impacts of Medical Marijuana Facilities on adjacent properties, residential neighborhoods, schools and other places where children congregate, local historic districts, and other land uses potentially incompatible with said Facilities.
13.1.3 To regulate the siting, design, placement, security, safety, monitoring, modification, and removal of Medical Marijuana Facilities.
13.2  Applicability
13.2.1 The cultivation [unless it meets the requirements for an agricultural exemption under Chapter 40A Section 3], production, processing, assembly, packaging, retail or wholesale sale, trade, distribution or dispensing of Marijuana for Medical Use is prohibited unless permitted as a Medical Marijuana Facility under this Section 13.
13.2.2. No Medical Marijuana Facility shall be established except in compliance with the provisions of this Section 13.
13.2.3 Nothing in this Bylaw shall be construed to supersede federal and state laws governing the sale and distribution of narcotic drugs.
13.2.4 If any provision of this Section or the application of any such provision to any person or circumstance shall be held invalid, the remainder of this Section, to the extent it can be given effect, or the application of those provisions to persons or circumstances other than those to which it is held invalid, shall not be affected thereby, and to this end the provisions of this Section are severable.
13.3  Definitions
Medical Marijuana Facility – A facility for the cultivation, production, processing, assembly, packaging, retail or wholesale sale, trade, distribution or dispensing of Marijuana for Medical Use, located inside a structure or building.
Marijuana for Medical Use – Marijuana that is designated and restricted for use by, and for the benefit of, Qualifying Patients in the treatment of Debilitating Medical Conditions as set forth in Citizens Petition 11-11.
Marijuana – The same substance defined as “marihuana” under Chapter 94C of the Massachusetts General Laws.
13.4  Eligible Locations for Medical Marijuana Facilities.
13.4.1  Medical Marijuana Facilities, other than agricultural operations meeting exemption standards under Chapter 40A Section 3, may be allowed by Special Permit of the Dennis Planning Board in the Industrial Zoning District provided the facility meets the requirements of this Section 13.
13.5  General Requirements and Conditions for all Medical Marijuana Facilities.
13.5.1 All non-exempt Medical Marijuana Facilities shall be contained within a building or structure.
13.5.2 No Medical Marijuana Facility shall have a gross floor area of less than 2,500 square feet or in excess of 20,000 square feet.
13.5.3 A Medical Marijuana Facility may not be located in buildings that contain any medical doctors offices or the offices of any other professional practitioner authorized to prescribe the use of medical marijuana.
13.5.4 The hour of operation of Medical Marijuana Facilities shall be set by the Special Permit Granting Authority, but in no event shall said Facilities be open and/or operating between the hours of 8:00 PM and 8:00 AM.
13.5.5 No Medical Marijuana Facility shall be located on a lot which abuts the Cape Cod Rail Trail, Tony Kent Arena, or a residential zoning district.
13.5.6 No smoking, burning or consumption of any product containing marijuana or marijuana-related products shall be permitted on the premises of a Medical Marijuana Facility.
13.5.7 No Medical Marijuana Facility shall be located inside a building containing residential units, including transient housing such as motels and dormitories, or inside a movable or mobile structure such as a van or truck.
13.5.8 Signage for the Medical Marijuana Facility shall include the following language: “Registration card issued by the MA Department of Public Health required.” The required text shall be a minimum of two inches in height.
13.5.9 Medical Marijuana Facilities shall provide the Dennis Police Department, Building Commissioner and the Special Permit Granting Authority with the names, phone numbers and email addresses of all management staff and keyholders to whom one can provide notice if there are operating problems associated with the establishment.
13.6  Special Permit Requirements
13.6.1 A Medical Marijuana Facility may only be allowed by special permit from the Dennis Planning Board in accordance with G.L. c. 40A, §9, subject to the following statements, regulations, requirements, conditions and limitations.
13.6.2 A special permit for a Medical Marijuana Facility shall be limited to one or more of the following uses that shall be prescribed by the Special Permit Granting Authority:
a) cultivation of Marijuana for Medical Use (horticulture) [special permit not required for sites meeting agricultural exemption standards found in Chapter 40A Section 3];
b) processing and packaging of Marijuana for Medical Use, including Marijuana that is in the form of smoking materials, food products, oils, aerosols, ointments, and other products;
c) retail sale or distribution of Marijuana for Medical Use to Qualifying Patients;
d) wholesale sale of Marijuana for Medical Use to other Medical Marijuana Facilities located in Dennis or in another municipality in Massachusetts.
13.6.3 In addition to the application requirements set forth in Sections 13.5 and 13.6 of this Bylaw, a special permit application for a Medical Marijuana Facility shall include the following:
a) the name and address of each owner of the facility;
b) copies of all required licenses and permits issued to the applicant by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and any of its agencies for the Facility;
c) evidence of the Applicant’s right to use the site of the Facility for the Facility, such as a deed, or lease;
d) if the Applicant is a business organization, a statement under oath disclosing all of its owners, shareholders, partners, members, managers, directors, officers, or other similarly-situated individuals and entities and their addresses. If any of the above are entities rather than persons, the Applicant must disclose the identity of the owners of such entities until the disclosure contains the names of individuals;
e) a certified list of all parties in interest entitled to notice of the hearing for the special permit application, taken from the most recent tax list of the town and certified by the Town Assessor;
f) Proposed security measures for the Medical Marijuana Facility, including lighting, fencing, gates and alarms, etc., to ensure the safety of persons and to protect the premises from theft.
13.6.4 Mandatory Findings. The Special Permit Authority shall not issue a special permit for a Medical Marijuana Facility unless it finds that:
a) the Facility is designed to minimize any adverse visual or economic impacts on abutters and other parties in interest, as defined in G.L. c. 40A, §11;
b) the Facility is fully permitted by all applicable agencies within the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and is in compliance with all applicable state laws and regulations; and
c) the applicant has satisfied all of the conditions and requirements of Sections 13.5 and 13.6 herein;
13.6.5 Annual Reporting. Each Medical Marijuana Facility permitted under this Bylaw shall as a condition of its special permit file an annual report to and appear before the Special Permit Granting Authority and the Town Clerk no later than January 31st, providing a copy of all current applicable state licenses for the Facility and/or its owners and illustrate continued compliance with the conditions of the Special Permit.
13.6.6 A special permit granted under this Section shall have a term limited to the duration of the applicant’s ownership of the premises as a Medical Marijuana Facility. A special permit may be transferred only with the approval of the Special Permit Granting Authority in the form of an amendment to the special permit with all information required in this Section 13.
13.6.7 Any violation of this Section 13 shall be grounds for revocation of a special permit issued under this Section.
13.6.8 The Board shall require the applicant to post a bond at the time of construction to cover costs for the removal of the Medical Marijuana Facility in the event the Town must remove the facility.  The value of the bond shall be based upon the ability to completely remove all the items noted in 13.7.2 and properly clean the facility at prevailing wages. The value of the bond shall be developed based upon the applicant providing the Planning Board with three (3) written bids to meet the noted requirements. An incentive factor of 1.5 shall be applied to all bonds to ensure compliance and adequate funds for the town to remove the tower at prevailing wages.
13.7  Abandonment or Discontinuance of Use
13.7.1 A Special Permit shall lapse if not exercised within one year of issuance.
13.7.2 A Medical Marijuana Facility shall be required to remove all material, plants equipment and other paraphernalia:
a) prior to surrendering its state issued licenses or permits; or
b) within six months of ceasing operations; whichever comes first.
To see if the Town of Dennis will amend the Dennis Zoning By-law by amending Section 5 Definitions by removing the Definition of Building Height which is based upon measuring from finished grade and replacing it with a new Definition of Building Height which will be based upon “average natural grade” as defined in the proposal.
BUILDING HEIGHT The vertical distance between the average natural grade of the ground under the footprint of a building and the highest point of the roof, parapet, or other attached structure.  A chimney or residential television antenna shall be exempt from the above requirements.
Average Natural Grade shall be derived from the average elevation of the natural grade along the exterior of the building facing the front lot line and the average elevation of the natural grade along the exterior of the building facing the rear lot line or, for a through lot, the other front lot line.  For corner lots, the front lot line shall be the street from which the property gains its address and the rear lot line shall be the boundary opposite the front lot line.  Building heights shall be measured from the higher of Average Natural Grade or Base Flood Elevation for properties located in the FEMA established Velocity and 1% Annual Chance Floodplain.
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One thought on “Zoning Amendments for May Town Meeting

  1. Peter Aspesi

    Good change Dan but the residential television antenna should be expanded to include satellite dishes, weather instruments, antennas for radio reception or broadcasting such as ham radio operators, by specifically stating television you exclude everything else and could open up the town to litigation. Good for lawyers but not taxpayers.

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