8/27/2019 0 Comments
Boston City Councilor At-Large Michael F. Flaherty filed a text amendment to the City of Boston Zoning Code regarding Cannabis Establishments to provide clarity on a 2016 text amendment that created a half-mile buffer zone between cannabis establishments. The text amendment intended to ensure that cannabis establishments were sited in an equitable manner and that one community or neighborhood does not host a cluster of cannabis establishments.
The current language in the zoning code states the following with respect to Cannabis Establishment under Article 8-7, Table A, Use Regulations Item #39B:
"Cannabis Establishment-provided that any cannabis establishment shall be sited at least one-half mile or 2,640 feet from another existing cannabis establishment and at least 500 feet from a pre-existing public or private school providing education in kindergarten or any of grades 1 through 12. Distances shall be determined from the nearest lot line of the proposed establishment to the nearest lot line of an existing establishment or school."
A recent interpretation at a Zoning Board of Appeal hearing suggested that the word “existing” applies only to businesses already running, and not to cannabis establishments that have been approved but not yet operating. As a result, two cannabis establishments within half-mile of one another, both of whom sought to be sited in East Boston, presented at the same hearing.
To clarify the intent of the amendment that was established in 2016, Councilor Flaherty filed a text amendment to include not only “existing cannabis establishment”, but also “proposed cannabis establishment that has obtained municipal permits, approvals, including but not limited to executed host community agreements”.
“This industry is going to continue to grow in Boston, and as it does, we need to ensure that we are siting cannabis establishments in an equitable, predictable, and transparent way,” stated Councilor Flaherty. “This text amendment calls for definitive wording to how the City of Boston should approach the approval process of very specific industry seeking to be part of our neighborhoods.”
The text amendment was passed unanimously by the City Council at its formal session on Wednesday, August 21st. The text amendment now awaits approval by the City of Boston Zoning Commission and the Boston Planning & Development Agency.