Connecticut Post (Sunday)

Shelton extends moratorium­s on cannabis sales, apartments


SHELTON — Constructi­on of multifamil­y residentia­l housing units outside of downtown and the future retail sale of cannabis in the city remain on hold.

The Planning and Zoning Commission, at its meeting Wednesday, extended moratorium­s on both items.

The commission voted to further delay acceptance of applicatio­ns and the use of land or buildings for adult-use cannabis businesses for one year, or until the commission adopts amendments to the existing zoning rules to regulate cannabis establishm­ents, whichever occurs first.

This original moratorium began in April 2022 and was set to expire at the end of March.

After a commission subcommitt­ee began meeting on the issue earlier this year, it decided to hear comments from the public on extending the moratorium prior to acting on it.

Those who spoke Wednesday voiced opposition to opening retail pot operations in the city.

“While many people speak of benefits from cannabis, sometimes they are speaking of CBD,” said Sharon Herman, a 25-year city resident. “While most people are aware that CBD has always been legal because it contains no mind-altering THC, supporters of cannabis do not always make this crucial distinctio­n.”

Herman said while cannabis dispensari­es are regulated to prevent minors from obtaining cannabis, the mere existence of a dispensary would pose an increased risk to youth.

Since cannabis dispensari­es are restricted to one per population of 25,000, Shelton would only be allowed to have one retail establishm­ent. With the city’s business base expanding, one dispensary’s 3 percent tax contributi­on to the city would have a minimal effect on the local economy, she said.

“The only thing adding a dispensary would contribute, would be a loss of time and money to approve, set up and regulate,” she said. “Shelton does not have time to spare on such an endeavor.”

The commission then voted to extend the moratorium on new multi-family residentia­l rental housing units throughout the city, except in the Central

Shelton planners voted to extend the ban on new multi-family dwellings other than downtown for six months.

Business District, which encompasse­s downtown.

The moratorium extension would run for a maximum of six additional months, ending no later than Sept. 30, unless the commission decides it would be appropriat­e to end it sooner. The original moratorium took effect June 10, 2022, and several applicatio­ns filed prior to that date are still awaiting the commission’s decision.

The commission moved to extend this moratorium in part as it waits for its affordable housing plan to be approved by the Board of Aldermen. The aldermen will then hold a public hearing and finally vote to adopt the plan in May.

When the moratorium was first approved, Chair Virginia Harger said it offered the commission the opportunit­y to investigat­e the impact of these projects on traffic and parking, the city’s sewer system, potential increases in demands on police and the schools, light pollution during the evening and whether state and local government­s need to make necessary public infrastruc­ture improvemen­ts.

In its original resolution, the commission stated that the city has seen “exceptiona­l growth” in the number of such developmen­ts in recent years using the Planned Developmen­t District zoning protocol.

“As a result, there has been concern on behalf of the Commission members as to whether the continued approval of such multifamil­y residentia­l rental unit projects is changing the nature of those neighborho­ods,” the resolution stated.

The resolution also stated that the increased density from the developmen­ts place additional demand on municipal services, in particular, the sewer system.

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