The Town Council approved a zoning change that would allow medical marijuana dispensaries in certain parts of Watertown.
The facilities would only be allowed in areas zoned for industrial use (I-1, I-2 or I-3). The marijuana dispensaries would not be allowed to operate within 500 feet of a place where children commonly congregate, such as schools, parks and child care facilities.
The Council voted 6-1, with Councilor Angeline Kounelis, who represents East Watertown, voting against the proposal.
“There was a statement that these would be in ‘out of the way locations.'” Kounelis said. “The out of the way locations are all in East End of Watertown. All of streets are located near neighborhoods that are people’s homes.”
She noted there are no transition zones between industrial areas and residential areas.
Most of the industrial zones in Watertown are along Arsenal Street, Grove Street, Coolidge Avenue and the area south of Nichols Avenue, Laurel Street and Cypress Street. A few areas are zoned industrial along Arlington Street and one parcel along Pleasant Street. Most of Pleasant Street now has special zoning as part of the Pleasant Street Corridor Zoning. See a zoning map of Watertown by clicking here: http://www.ci.watertown.ma.us/documentcenter/view/1584.
The facilities are allowed in Massachusetts after voters approved Question 3. Some towns tried to prevent the marijuana facilities from coming to their community, but the the Attorney General ruled that was not allowed, and some place in town must be designated for such a facility.
Facilities must be approved by the state, and the first group of applicants have submitted proposals. None wished to put one in Watertown.
Town Councilor Vincent Piccirilli said he reluctantly supported the zoning change.
“It’s a conundrum. Two-thirds of Watertown residents voted for Question 3, but I am yet to talk to a resident who wants a facility in Watertown,” Piccirilli said. “The Attorney General said we are not legally allowed to prohibit a facility. This is the least worst solution.”
See more about the medical marijuana facility zoning by clicking here.