PITTSTON — Pittston will host two public hearings this week to review updates to the building code ordinance and the proposed medical cannabis ordinance.
Both ordinances will be on the town warrant on Saturday, March 19, and will have to be voted on as a warrant by the town that day.
The public hearings will be at the town office and serve as a way for town residents to get their questions answered ahead of the vote and as a way to open up conversation among the town.
The proposed medical cannabis ordinance has been in the works for about a year through a town marijuana policy review committee. The public hearing is on Tuesday at 6 p.m. and will go over the town’s views on processing, cultivating, processing, storage, sale and distribution of medical marijuana within the town of Pittston, as stated in the ordinance.
“We started the committee about a year and a half ago and spoke with some of the medical marijuana growers in the town,” said Mary Jean Ambrose, chair of the select board. “When (select board member) Kerri (Ferris) came along, she took the outline and developed it into an ordinance that reflected it. The feeling is they didn’t want commercial medical marijuana growing to go on in town.”
Ambrose said the way Maine law works since Mainers are able to use marijuana recreationally and is decriminalized, towns have to opt into the retail sale of it.
The ordinance explains Pittston’s decision regarding medical marijuana and states that the town is focused on its authority to mitigate potential impacts on surrounding properties, retain the town’s character and establish a structure to defray administrative and enforcement costs associated with application processing and ordinance implication.
It sets limitations for any medical cannabis facility and “is intended to clarify the town of Pittston does not approve” of the presence of a retail marijuana facility, registered dispensary, marijuana testing facility or a manufacturing facility at this time.
According to the ordinance, any established growers in the area before the ordinance potentially takes place will have to fill out a business approval form within 90 days of the vote and submit it to the Pittston Planning Board for approval. Though they can grow their own, they cannot sell it, according to the proposed rules.
The updated building code ordinance public hearing is on Wednesday at 6:15 p.m. and it aims to modernize language from the last time the ordinance was updated in the early 1990s, according to Ambrose. She said there aren’t many changes to the ordinance otherwise.
The main change to the building code is the additional language for “tiny homes,” which requires the houses to be no more than 400 square feet, meet all of the state plumbing, electrical, waste and water requirements, and meet all state requirements of egress where bedroom windows must be 5.7 feet square feet.