Pot business buffers, stabilization funds on Easthampton council agenda

  • JERREY ROBERTSEasthampton Municipal Building, 50 Payson Avenue GAZETTE FILE PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 1/21/2020 10:12:23 PM

EASTHAMPTON — A marijuana zoning change and the creation of new stabilization accounts will be some of the prominent items on the agenda for Wednesday’s meeting of the City Council.

City Councilor J.P. Kwiecinski will introduce legislation requiring a 75-foot buffer between marijuana businesses in a highway business district and the property line of any residential district property located on the businesses’ side or rear lot line. He said the street and the sidewalk would provide a sufficient buffer between a residential property and a marijuana business across the street.

Kwiecinski said he was introducing the measure to be mindful of residential areas. He also said that he wanted to be respectful of both new businesses and neighbors.

“Be cognizant of having a good mesh between the two uses,” he said.

Kwiecinski said it could be overreaching to apply the buffer to all types of businesses, although he noted that, “we certainly could.”

This legislative change could impact Easthampton Advance Research Park LLC, a proposed marijuana business that is seeking to set up shop at the Tasty Top property on Northampton Street, although Kwiecinski said the initial plans look to have separation in them already.

Kwiecinski will be asking that the new ordinance be referred to the council’s ordinance committee. He also said he believes there will be support for the measure.

“It’s a good time to address it now,” he said.

Also at the meeting, Mayor Nicole LaChapelle will present two new stabilization accounts to the council for its approval.

The Cannabis Impact Fee Stabilization Fund would hold the city’s community impact fee money from recreational marijuana establishments, and would fund expenditures that mitigate the impact of the recreational marijuana business on the city.

The Tax Rate Stabilization Fund, meanwhile, would be used to exert downward pressure on the city’s tax rate on an annual basis.

To be established, the funds will require two-thirds votes, said City Council President Peg Conniff. She also said that they will both likely be referred to the council’s finance committee at the meeting.

The meeting will start at 6 p.m. on the second floor of the city’s municipal building on Payson Avenue in the second floor meeting area.

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