By: Scott M. Zanolli
Last week the Cape Cod town of Truro became the first Massachusetts municipality to enact a zoning bylaw that allows cannabis cultivation in a residential district. The by-law was a product of intense public debate over the past several months as the Truro Planning Board attempted to craft a proposal that balanced the concerns of residential property owners with the needs of local organic farmers hoping to gain a foothold in the nascent Massachusetts marijuana industry.
At a Special Town Meeting on November 13, 2018, Truro voters approved several amendments to the Planning Board’s proposal, including increasing the number of allowed microbusinesses from 1 to 2, and eliminating the requirement that all marijuana establishments be located in stand-alone structures.
Pierce & Mandell shareholder Michael C. Fee, who has advised the Co-op throughout the permitting process, argued for increases in the bylaw’s limitations on canopy space, noting that other bylaw provisions regulating cultivation activities were sufficient to protect the residential district’s character, and that the initial maximum canopy restrictions proposed by the Planning Board would create barriers to entry and curtail growth opportunities for the Co-Op’s business. After lively debate Town Meeting approved the by-law as amended, with many speakers affirming their support for farmers in the community.
Press coverage of the Special Town Meeting can be viewed at:
A full text of the by-law proposed by the Planning Board can be viewed here:
Michael C. Fee is a Pierce & Mandell Shareholder with extensive experience in zoning, land use and municipal law. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.