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Hopedale - Local Town Pages

Town Meeting to consider a bylaw amendment to include marijuana cultivation Change needed to grant permits in light industry zoning district

By Theresa Knapp 
Hopedale Town Meeting will be asked to amend the Planning Board’s Table of Uses to allow for marijuana cultivation in the town’s Light Industry zoning district. 
The issue came to light during the permitting process for MACA which signed a host community agreement with Hopedale in June 2019 for a location at 2 Condon Way. The site will be used for cultivation only with no manufacturing or retail sales. 
According to town counsel Brian Riley of KP Law in Boston, the current Table of Uses does not provide an avenue to permit MACA in the light industry zone. 
“This came to my attention when I got a call from one of the representatives from MACA,” Riley said. 
In a decision letter sent to MACA representative Michael M. Kaplan, and discussed at the Board of Selectmen’s April 12 meeting, Riley explained that the table lists specific uses allowable in the Commercial and Industrial districts, and includes a “catch-all” category that could be used for marijuana cultivation, but there are no such provisions laid out for the Light Industry district. 
Riley says the “bylaw would require amendment to authorize the Building Commissioner and the Planning Board to approve a marijuana cultivation facility in the Light Industry district. This could involve either adding marijuana cultivation specifically in the Table of Uses, or perhaps changing the catch-all provision for commercial uses to apply to the LIght Industry district, as allowed or allowed by special permit.” 
In order to effect a zoning change, the Planning Board will have to hold a public hearing before the annual town meeting. As of press time, that hearing date was not set. For more information, monitor the town website for a hearing notice, likely the first week in May.