On January 10, 2024

Zoning for retail cannabis in Killington discussed at  public hearing

 

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Cannabis retail stores could be coming to Killington if voters approve the measure on Town Meeting Day, March 5.

The Killington Planning Commission held a public hearing Jan. 3 to establish zoning that would limit where retail stores can be.

The commission proposal allows cannabis stores only on Killington Road between School House Road and the Lookout Tavern — just before where the Killington Resort property begins.   

“We wanted to be forward thinking as a board,” Planning Commission Chair Jennifer Iannantuoni said at the meeting. “The point of these zoning regulations is to identify appropriate districts for these activities to take place and a process for securing a zoning permit within the town of Killington.”

Cannabis retail became legal in Vermont in 2022. The law requires individual towns to vote on allowing cannabis retail  before any potential business can obtain a license from the state.

At the public hearing, some residents and business owners questioned why the planning commission was not allowing cannabis retail shops along Route 4 in town. 

Iannantuoni said the planning commission discussed that at length and board members “didn’t want it at the gateway to Killington.”

“When we do this, we want to do it
in a thoughtful way,”Iannantuoni said. 
“We must be forward thinking. We have to 
have a plan in place if we get a ‘yes’ vote.”

Planning commission members said retail operations could be more controlled on Killington Road, as opposed to the possibility of cannabis attracting a transient population on Route 4.

Iannantuoni said the town was serious about enforcing zoning bylaws. “When we do this, we want to do it in a thoughtful way,” she said. “We must be forward thinking. We have to have a plan in place if we get a ‘yes’ vote.”  

While some were concerned about breathing second-hand smoke and the new stores creating a potential black market, Dana Brearley, the co-founder of East Coast Cannabis, a large retail cannabis organization in Maine, said his average customer is a 45-year-old male. 

“We’re not making dynamite,” he said. “It isn’t what it used to be, you know, so having it safe and accessible is really the most important thing.”

The commission is expected to vote on the issue at its next meeting on Jan. 10. If approved, the measure will go to the Select Board. If the Select Board approves, the issue, it will then be put to voters at Town Meeting Day, March 5.

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