Pepperell special town meeting Saturday

Town will discuss proposed zoning bylaw amendment on marijuana shops

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PEPPERELL – After months of delays, residents will soon have the chance to determine how many retail marijuana shops will be allowed in town.

Tomorrow at 10 a.m. residents will conduct a special town meeting in the Nissitissit Middle School parking lot. The meeting’s only subject will be a discussion on a proposed zoning bylaw amendment regarding adult-use recreational marijuana businesses.

If approved, the bylaw would allow two retail marijuana businesses in town instead of one.

The meeting came about after local resident Ann-Marie Finn, co-owner of The Lazy Bubble restaurant on Main Street, submitted a citizen’s petition to Town Hall requesting the discussion.

The meeting was originally scheduled to take place on Feb. 20, but was canceled earlier this month due to the petition not having enough properly verified signatures.

Town Administrator Andrew MacLean said the Select Board agreed earlier this month to hold the meeting on the March date. Not only that, but the board also voted to lower the town’s quorum requirement for the meeting from 75 to 30 people on Feb. 22. The board took this action before the 2020 annual town meeting in June and the last special town meeting in November to keep from having a mass gathering, still a hazard with the coronavirus pandemic still in the air.

Two recreational marijuana businesses are currently vying for spots: Uma Flowers LLC, which proposed its plan to the town in Dec. 2019, and New England Craft Cultivators, which proposed its plan last February.

Uma hopes to establish a store at 2 Tarbell St. while NECC is hoping to set-up shop barely a half-mile away at the previously-vacant Paugus Plaza on Main Street.

MacLean also noted the rain date for meeting will be March 20.