BIDDEFORD — An initial vote approving changing part of the business B-2 zone to an industrial I-1 zone, would allow a new medical marijuana growing facility to locate in Biddeford.

The city currently has one growing facility, and one medical marijuana dispensary.

If the zone change receives final approval, the new facility would provide space for caregivers to grow medical marijuana for their clients.

Dispensaries and growing facilities have been allowed in the State of Maine since 2010, when a public referendum voted to change the approach to growing medical marijuana for the treatment of a limited number of medical conditions.

Under the legislation, Maine municipalities were required to allow medical marijuana facilities within their borders, at least in certain zones.

In Biddeford, medical marijuana growing facilities are only allowed as conditional uses in the I-1 and I-2 zones.

According to a memo from City Planner Greg Tansley to Mayor Alan Casavant and the city council, the request to change a portion of property located at 10 Arctic Circle to the I-1 zone was brought by the property owner, David Gould of Southpark, LLC.

Kind Acres Farm in Washington would like to locate a growing facility on the Arctic Circle property, said Andrew Stout, owner of Kind Acres.

The property, according to Tansley’s memo, which is now located in a B-2 zone, abuts an I-1 zone. It also abuts the former Hostess bakery site to the west, Genest Concrete to the north and other commercial uses to the south and east. There is only one residential property near the site, a single-family home at 546 Elm St.

Councilor Clement Fleurent, who voted against the zone change, said he had some concerns about the location.

He said the property is not only near a residence, it is also near the Good Shepherd Food Bank.

“I really don’t think it’s the right place for it,” he said.

Councilor Bob Mills, who was on the council when it voted to allow growing facilities in the I-1 zone, noted the city already has one growing facility.

Maine Organic Therapy is located in the Biddeford Industrial Park, said Tansley. He said he’s spoken with the owner of the property, which he said is near a dance school, and the owner said they have had no problems.

Tansley also said that even if the zone change received final approval, since medical marijuana growing facilities are only allowed as a conditional use if the applicant wanted to build a growing facility there, he would be required to appear before the planning board for approval. Abutters would receive written notices that a growing facility seeks to locate there.

A final vote on the issue will likely take place at the city council’s next meeting on July 1.

Staff Writer Dina Mendros can be contacted at 282-1535, ext. 324 or [email protected]

        Comments are not available on this story.

        filed under: