DRB approves permit for marijuana dispensary
By Lucia Suarez
STAFF WRITER | March 12,2013
BRANDON — The state’s newest medical marijuana dispensary may have found a home in Brandon, after the town’s development review board changed the conditional use permit of a building in town to be used for the new endeavor.
The board issued its decision March 6 for the application by Alexandra Ford on behalf of Rutland County Organics to use a 6,700-square-foot building located at 84 Lovers Lane to grow and dispense medical marijuana, as allowed by the state. The board approved the change to the building by a unanimous 5-0 vote.
“The board finds the proposed development as submitted meets the requirements of the Brandon Zoning Bylaw and is in accordance with the Performance Objectives and Standards of the Brandon Land Use Ordinance,” the March 6 decision read.
The building on Lovers Lane, owned by Chuck Mitchell Properties, housed a wood furniture manufacturing facility until last year.
According to the DRB’s decision, the conditions in place for the building’s initial conditional use permit issued in 2008, remain in affect including lighting shall be downward and not exceed the lot line, the operation will meet all local and state regulations for filtered and recirculated air, flammable materials will be stored in a safe manner and proper parking has to be established for up to 10 employees and two customers.
According to Zoning Administrator Tina Wiles, people or groups of people with interested party status have 30 days from that date — or until April 5 — to appeal the board’s decision to the environmental court.
She said the appeals have to prove that the board’s decision results in undue adverse effects to the capacity of the building, the character of the area, traffic on the roads and highways in the vicinity, Brandon’s bylaws and ordinances, and impacts under Act 250.
“A person cannot appeal just because they don’t like the project,” Wiles said.
She said she believes an appeal may be made against the board’s decision following a phone call she received Monday.
Rutland County Organics, a nonprofit of which Ford is the executive director, is one of the four organizations granted a conditional certificate to operate a dispensary. Previously, the towns of Wallingford and Pittsford were considered as potential sites for the dispensary.
Rutland County has 27 registered medical marijuana patients.
The state has approved up to four dispensaries. So far, one in Burlington and one in Waterbury have been approved.
Under the state’s law, communities are allowed to pass ordinances that ban dispensaries — as the city of Rutland did last year — or ban them through the town or city’s zoning ordinance.
Wiles said a non-binding vote petitioning the Select Board to pass an ordinance banning dispensaries failed on Town Meeting Day. She said the Brandon Planning Commission has not considered an ordinance and a petition presented to her did not have enough signatures.