Ben Averill, Bath’s city planner, reviews the city’s proposed marijuana license fees at the Nov. 6 city council meeting. (Kathleen O’Brien / The Times Record)

BATH — The Bath Planning Board didn’t give site plan approval to a medical marijuana company looking to open a Bath location on Tuesday after the board members found holes in the application.

One month after the city council voted to allow recreational marijuana sales, the owners of Highbrow, which has locations in Topsham, Manchester and Waldoboro, requested site plan approval to open a storefront on the southbound side of Leeman Highway.

Business co-owners Jason Brossi, Charles Doherty and Noah Rosen said this would be the company’s first recreational marijuana store. They’re also interested in expanding into the U.S. Cellular building next door to house a medical marijuana storefront in the future.

Ben Averill, Bath’s city planner, said some information was missing from the formal application.

“For example, we could see they had enough parking, but we had questions about landscaping and traffic flow,” said Averill. “For their particular project, there were some staff questions that the applicant needs to address.” 

Averill said the withholding of site plan approval isn’t uncommon, and the applicants will present their revised application at next month’s Planning Board meeting.

Should the store gain planning board approval next month, it will still need to obtain local and state licenses, the latter of which aren’t yet unavailable to business owners. Applications for state licenses will be available before the end of 2019 according to David Heidrich Jr., director of engagement and community outreach in the State Office of Marijuana Policy.

On Wednesday, the Bath city council unanimously approved fees for the different types of local marijuana licenses, which will go into effect on Dec. 1.

A cultivation facility license is set at $750, a product manufacturing facility license is $500, and licenses for retail stores and testing facilities are $1,500 and $500, respectively.

While these fees are much higher than Bath’s victualer license, which costs $35, they’re much lower than marijuana licenses in Auburn, where a retail store license costs $5,000 per year.

“(These fees) are not set in stone. This is a launching point,” said City Council Chairwoman Mari Eosco.

Heidrich said the fees offset labor costs, including code enforcement officers, police officers and city clerks.

Averill said Bath’s license fees were modeled after those in Brunswick because of the similarities between the two municipalities’ staffing levels.

With the fees in place, applications for local licenses will be available later this month. Both local and state licenses will need to be renewed annually.

According to Bath’s retail rules, recreational and medical marijuana stores will be required to install security measures, including 24-hour surveillance. In addition, passers-by shouldn’t be able to smell marijuana from outside the building.

The rules also set a 500-foot buffer around schools, licensed childcare facilities, public parks, substance abuse rehabilitation or treatment centers and halfway houses. No two retail stores and dispensaries can open within 300 feet of each other.

Given retail marijuana storefronts are only permitted through the center of the city along the north of the Route 1 corridor and the buffers the city set in place, Averill said he doesn’t think many marijuana facilities will be able to open in Bath.

There are no other proposals for recreational or medical marijuana storefronts according to Averill.

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