Brandon medical marijuana permit appealedBy Gordon Dritschilo
Staff Writer | March 28,2013BRANDON — The zoning permit for a medical marijuana dispensary has been appealed to the state Environmental Court.
Joanne Nichols, who lives next door to the proposed location on Lovers Lane, filed the appeal late last week.
In listing the grounds for the appeal, Nichols raised questions about air quality, groundwater contamination, safety, privacy and the classification of the project.
Alexandra Ford of Rutland County Organics received a state permit in January to open one of four authorized dispensaries.
Earlier this month, Brandon’s Development Review Board issued her a conditional use permit for a 6,700-square-foot dispensary at a former furniture-manufacturing facility owned by Chuck Mitchell Properties at 84 Lovers Lane.
Nichols said she attended the DRB hearing where the application was reviewed, but did not speak because she did not understand the process. She said her appeal paperwork lists the questions she wanted to ask.
“What air quality tests will be done and who will do these tests?” Nichols asked in her appeal. “How does the applicant intend to remediate the smell of marijuana in my yard? ... Why is it not considered agricultural? It is growing a plant product. The question was asked but not answered to my satisfaction or complete understanding.”
Nichols also said Police Chief Christopher Brickell was described at the hearing as being “comfortable with everything they are proposing” but that Brickell later said he was misquoted.
“What I said was I was comfortable with the security plan she put in place,” Brickell said when contacted Tuesday. “Everything she is doing is perfectly legal and within the state statute. I do have some concerns as to the unknowns that will take place, just because we don’t know what ... the impacts will be.”
Nichols goes on to say that the facility could become a target for thieves, thus endangering her own home, and that unspecified security measurers there could constitute threats to her privacy.
Nichols said she was representing herself in the appeal and, as a result, was reluctant to discuss it for fear that doing so might jeopardize her position.
Ford could not be reached for comment.
The state had issued two other permits for medical marijuana dispensaries — one in Burlington and one in Waterbury — and applications are expected to open later this year for the fourth and final slot authorized by the current state law.
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