Thursday, September 26, 2013

Medical Marijuana, Fallen Veterans, And Cemeteries

It was a busy night at Planning and Zoning. The Commission reviewed a lease for a medical marijuana producer, and held public hearings on the Trees of Honor Memorial in Veterans Park, and on a change in the zoning code text to allow cemeteries in the multifamily zone. It also held public hearings on residential subdivisions on East and Wadsworth Streets, these will be the subject of a later post.

Medical Marijuana
The Planning and Zoning Commission voted to recommend approval of a lease of 15,000 square feet in the city-owned Remington Rand Building to Greenbelt, LLC, for the company to grow and process Medical Merijuana.

Commissioners Dan Russo, Rich Pelletier, Nick Fazzino, Carl Chisem, and Les Adams supported the lease, with most saying that they did so in order to be "business friendly". Commissioner Ken McClellan opposed it because he felt that the city would be abetting something which the Federal government considers a felony. He was not dissuaded by State law, which permits the business, nor by the rental agreement which specifically calls for the business to immediately suspend its operations, but continue paying rent, if it is served with a cease and desist order from the state or the federal government. Commissioner Molly Salafia abstained from the vote, she felt that pharmaceutical manufacturing was not permitted in the zone.

Trees of Honor in Veterans Park
The Vets Pool is to the upper right, the parking lot
at the bottom.
The state memorial to honor the active duty soldiers from Connecticut who have died in Afghanistan and Iraq is planned for Veterans Park. The planned memorial will be a ring of trees west of the swimming pool, with one tree for each of the 65 (so far) soldiers who have died in those wars. There will be a mix of dogwoods, cherry, crab apple, and redbud, planted on a slightly elevated berm around a large pond.

Bob Dobmeier presented the plan on behalf of the city, Allan Nathis and Tom Linden spoke to the grading and the tree selection. The Commission voted unanimously to approve the application.

 Cemeteries in the M zone
Indian Hill Cemetery submitted an application for a zoning code text change, to allow "Cemeteries and other places of burial of the dead" to be located in the multi-family zone. The treasurer of Indian Hill told the commission that Indian Hill has been in operation since 1850, and is grandfathered in as a non-conforming use since the zoning regulations and map were first established. He said that the cemetery wished to make improvements, and it would be easier to do if the cemetery was considered an approved use for the zone.

The Commission approved the text change unanimously.
Author's Disclaimer: I am providing information about P&Z meetings, as I have done since 2008, on a volunteer basis for The Eye. I am now a candidate for the Planning and Zoning Commission, and I will continue to cover P&Z until the election in November, because my motivation as a volunteer and one of my goals as a candidate is to increase community understanding of and involvement in land use decisions. The Eye welcomes coverage of P&Z (and other municipal meetings) by any correspondent, including all candidates for office; I would be thrilled to divest myself of The Middletown Eye's P&Z "beat".

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