The Windham Planning Board Monday unanimously approved a marijuana cultivation facility planned for 24 Gambo Road next to the Mountain Division Trail.

The 1.07-acre site in the industrial zoning district will house a 7,488-square-foot building licensed to grow not more than 7,000-square-feet of plant canopy. The facility will have three full time staff members and one floating manager who will check in on the facility periodically, said David St. Clair of St. Clair Associates, representing owner S&N Investments at the June 28 meeting.

Members of the public at the meeting urged the board to consider adding a larger, more robust buffer between the facility and the Mountain Division Trail.

Planning Board member Marge Govoni agreed and questioned St. Clair about theĀ  proposed buffer of trees.

St. Clair eventually agreed to increase the height of the buffer to 8 feet around the site.

Another concern the board discussed was the potential smell coming from the facility, especially due to its proximity to the trail and to town soccer fields.

“I would hate to be down at Gambo field with the kids or grandkids and running around and having to deal with that (odor),” said Planning Board Chair Keith Elder.

St. Clair said the facility will be equipped with an air filtration system that cleans the air before it exits the building, which should eliminate any odors outside.

This is the first marijuana cultivation facility proposal to appear before the Planning Board, though it is not the first of its kind in Windham.

“Our ordinance only requires site plan review in certain circumstances when there’s new construction over 1,000 square feet. But there’s also a category of minor and major site plan, so the Planning Board reviews projects that are over 5,000 square feet, unless they’re in an approved commercial subdivision,” said Planning Director Amanda Lessard.

The town voted to approve recreational marijuana in 2016 and the Town Council passed a marijuana licensing and land use ordinance in May 2020.

The ordinance allows for seven types of marijuana businesses, including marijuana cultivation facilities. The Gambo Road site cannot be licensed for retail sale of marijuana unless the council were to change its ordinance, Lessard said.

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