As West Tisbury prepares for a possible medical marijuana dispensary in town, a zoning bylaw to regulate dispensaries will come before voters at a special town meeting tonight.
The meeting begins at 7 p.m. at the West Tisbury School. Moderator F. Patrick Gregory will preside over the 12-article warrant. A quorum of 123 voters is required.
The zoning bylaw would allow dispensaries by special permit in the mixed business and light industrial districts off State Road. There are currently two applicants seeking state permits to operate dispensaries in West Tisbury, and two others elsewhere on the Island. The state process is expected to conclude in February.
At a joint meeting between the planning board and the selectmen last Monday, it was agreed to bring an amendment to the town meeting floor to name the zoning board of appeals as the permit granting authority. The bylaw is currently written to have the selectmen be the permitting authority.
Planning board member Bea Phear said she was comfortable with the state guidelines and approval process, but the bylaw would give the town better control of aesthetics.
“The reasons for having this is to do things around the edges, like parking and lighting and hours of operation, landscaping plans and location. It’s that kind of stuff that we can make this suit our community better,” she said.
In a separate article, voters will also be asked to approve a bylaw to prohibit public consumption of marijuana with a $300 fine for violators.
Most of the warrant articles are carried over from a previous special town meeting that failed to gain a quorum in the spring, including creating a roads maintenance stabilization fund, building maintenance stabilization fund and a request for $10,000 in community preservation funds for the town’s share of a window replacement project at the county courthouse in Edgartown. In other community preservation articles, voters will be asked to spend $7,400 to buy a cabinet to hold historic town documents at the town library.
Voters will be asked to spend an additional $10,000 for new building inspector Joseph Tierney’s position. Ms. Rand said the position was budgeted but the town underestimated the number of hours needed for the position.
Voters will also be asked to have the elected position of town treasurer become an appointed position. A corresponding ballot question at the annual town election next April must also be approved. The job has become “fairly complex,” town administrator Jennifer Rand said. “This allows the board to hire someone who has the skill set to do this job,” she said.
The question of eliminating a quorum requirement at town meetings will come before voters as well. A proposed article asks voters to rescind a town bylaw that requires five per cent of registered voters to be present at town meetings. The article is not recommended by the financial advisory committee.