By John Anderson

On Tuesday, August 9th, the Auburn Planning Board will hold three public hearings beginning at 7:20PM. The first will address an amendment of Section “General Services.” The proposal is to add the use “fitness gyms” which is currently not in the Town’s bylaws.

A 7:25pm hearing will add language to Section “Multiple Business Use.” According to Town Planner Matt Benoit, “Currently, this bylaw requires a Special Permit for multiple business uses, but not multiple business users. As a result, multiple businesses developing a property under similar principle uses may not be subject to the requirements of this bylaw. The proposed language corrects the potential issue.”

Finally, at 7:30pm, Registered Marijuana Dispensaries have a proposed new bylaw. Benoit told Auburn Mass Daily, “The Auburn Registered Marijuana Dispensary (RMD) Bylaw has been in development since January 2015. It combines language from multiple approved bylaws throughout the state along with regulations and guidelines from the Mass Department of Public Health. Cities and Towns of Massachusetts are adopting such bylaws to gain control over the placement of RMDs within town boundaries since such facilities became eligible for state permits in 2012. Some towns that didn’t adopt zoning bylaws specific to regulating RMDs have experienced the construction of new facilities in areas that aren’t consistent with town zoning principles or citizen appeal.

Auburn applied for and received a temporary moratorium of RMDs in October 2015 that prohibits the use from being built in Auburn for a period of one year while the town continues to work on this draft bylaw. It expires this October, so I strongly encourage our citizens and town meeting members to adopt this bylaw.

Long story short, the Town can’t prohibit an RMD. Any RMD is permitted by the Mass Department of Public Health and has the right to operate just like any other business, but the state allows for any municipality to create its own regulations to govern the use. As a result, this new zoning bylaw for Auburn effectively regulates, zones, enforces, and controls any RMD in a manner that doesn’t negatively impact the business, and more specifically, doesn’t detrimentally impact the surrounding environment and community.”

Once again, residents have the opportunity to give their opinions or voice their concerns. The hearings are scheduled for the Planning Board Room on the second floor at Town Hall.