At the end of 2018, the City Council voted on zoning for recreational cannabis stores in only one meeting because the moratorium was expiring at the end of the year and they needed to have something in place before the expiration. There were many concerns expressed by city councilors about some of the particulars, such as store size, zoning near village centers, whether or not stores should be appointment-only, etc., but because of the deadline, they agreed to approve the zoning proposal that was on the table, and re-look at it during zoning re-design. However, Zoning re-design has been delayed into 2020, so there has been no discussion since then. Meanwhile most of the licenses are likely to be taken by then under the “temporary” zoning regime, which allows stores to be up to 5000 square feet, and located in retail zones that are mostly outside of village centers (with some exceptions like parts of Newton Center), but still in heavily trafficked areas.
Current applicants with provisional approval are two locations on Washington Street in Newtonville and West Newton, one in Newton 4 Corners, one at Route 9/Eliot St., one on Route 9 in Chestnut Hill next to the Wegman’s shopping center, and one on Rumford Ave. Most are at or near the 5000 square foot limit. Do those locations make sense? Should we stay with that zoning or fine-tune it?