Gloucester Township Council introduces marijuana zoning updates

Public hearing on ordinance will take place on Aug. 9

Gloucester Township Council introduced an ordinance on first reading at its July 26 meeting that updates land redevelopment plans to include and set regulations for marijuana dispensaries.

“Essentially, this allows municipalities to enact certain ordinances governing the use, licensure and taxation of marijuana businesses at the local level,” explained Council President Orlando Mercado.

The following zones will allow for dispensaries conditionally, according to the new ordinance: the Highway Commercial Zone, Commercial Residential Zone, Neighborhood Commercial Zone, the Village of Gloucester Rehabilitation district, New Vision Business Park District and Blackwood West Redevelopment Zone.

Though some of the regulations vary in how close dispensaries can be to residential housing and whether or not they can have drive-through windows, the standard guidelines are that they need to be 2,000 feet away from other dispensaries and 1,000 feet away from public and private K-12 schools, parks and day-care facilities. Depending on the zone, dispensaries need to be either 200 or 500 feet away from residential properties and their hours will be 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.

The ordinance also specifies that marijuana cultivation facilities are allowed in the General Industry Zone so long as they are not within 1,000 feet of each other and the aforementioned public areas. Overall, the ordinance goes in depth about zoning, taxation and licensure regulations.

The full ordinance is available for viewing at glotwp.com, under the July 26 agenda, and a public hearing on the ordinance will take place at the Aug. 9 council meeting.

 

In other news;

— Mercado announced that with regard to the land ordinance tabled at the last meeting that dealt with placing electric charging stations and electric vehicles, the Department of Community Affairs will release its model ordinances next month.

“From what I’ve gathered, it’s more restrictive than what our municipality was going to pass,” Mercado explained. “Developers for both commercial and residential are required to provide make-ready spaces as part of their improvements.”

Council also passed a resolution extending the deadline for third-quarter taxes through  Aug. 31.

During the public comment portion, Solicitor David Carlamere shared that the Roselin Bridge property deal would be closing after some deed changes were made on Wednesday, July 28.

“Thank you for your support,” said Gloucester Township resident Brian Burns, who had been pushing for this change for the past few months, if not years.

Also during the public comment portion, resident Leslie Soto-Munoz expressed her concerns over marijuana being a potential gateway drug, and asked council to make good decisions, and be mindful of the consequences of bad decisions when it comes to drug use as they continue to create regulations.

 

The next council meeting is on Monday, August 9 at 7:30 p.m., following the workshop that begins at 6:30 p.m.  at the Gloucester Township Municipal Building.