Canton Commission to hear opinions on idea of temporarily banning Cannabis Establishments

Hearing also slated for proposed softball field

By John Fitts

Staff Writer


CANTON – On Wednesday evening, Aug. 18, the Canton Planning and Zoning Commission will hold public hearings on a possible temporary moratorium for recreational cannabis establishments, as well as the planned additional softball field on the Canton Middle/High School campus.

The proposed cannabis moratorium, which would typically be for 12 months, is designed to give the town some time to consider the full ramifications of the state’s Responsible and Equitable Regulation of Adult-use Cannabis law.

The idea for a potential “temporary and limited moratorium on Cannabis Establishments,” comes for the town attorney, said Neil S. Pade, director of Planning and Community Development. Pade noted the idea is “just to allow for time for this commission to consider whether it wishes to prohibit or regulate recreational cannabis establishments.”

The Capital Region Council of Governments has also provided guidance for the commission, modeled after work done by the Naugatuck Valley Council of Governments, should it want to go with the moratorium.

“The commission is holding a hearing in order to get input from the public on whether or not a temporary moratorium is necessary, to get greater input on how the public feels about this new use, if it should be allowed in town, whether or not it should be regulated, and, if so, to what extent,” Pade added.

The state, for example, notes that the town could restrict aspects such as hours, signage and proximity to establishments such as churches and schools.

The state is looking to get retail operations in place by the second half of 2022 and some of the taxes from sales would benefit municipalities directly.

Under the new state law, the town could initially allow one recreational dispensary and one growing operation. (Facilities would also need a state license and approval).

The moratorium would not affect medicinal marijuana facilities. Canton has approved the use of a medical dispensary and has even approved two such proposals that have not as of yet come to fruition. Canton also has provisions for medial growing facilities by special permit in some areas.

Additionally, a second public hearing Wednesday is slated for a proposed new softball field with dugouts, batting cages and a press box at 76 Simonds Ave. in a wooded area between the roadway and the existing Canton High School softball field. The town, in part, wants to develop the field in anticipation that, if approved later this year, a new Collinsville Fire Station - designed to replace the existing one on River Road - would displace the softball field on Dyer Avenue.

As reported previously in The Valley Press, the Board of Finance last fall, approved taking $169,295 from the town’s reserves for the field to supplement at $128,205 Small Town Economic Assistance Grant the town received from the state of Connecticut for the field.

The two hearings are just part of a busy night for the commission, which, among other matters, is also slated to further discuss proposed text amendments for the Industrial Heritage Zone that covers the 19-acre Collins Co. complex, which developer Sheldon Stein of Ranger Properties is planning to propose a mixed-use development (See Aug. 6 story at https://view.publitas.com/p222-6222/val_080621_p/page/10-11)

The hybrid meting takes place at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 18 at Room F in Canton Community Center, 40 Dyer Ave. For information on how to tune in remotely, click here.

Citizens can speak during the hearing or send input to npade@townofcantonct.org by 2 p.m. Wednesday.

A full meeting packet can be found here.






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