2017-05-25 / Front Page

Moratorium set for Industrial Park pot

By Sarah Beth Campisi
Contributing Writer

SACO — A six month moratorium is in place that will prevent new permits for medical marijuana caregiver facilities within Saco’s Industrial Park.

The Saco City Council voted Monday, May 15, to put permits on hold in zones I-1 and I-2 of the Industrial Park. Zoning Ordinance Article 4 allows these facilities within the two zones. The moratorium took effect immediately.

Councilor William Doyle of Ward 3, council resource on the motion, said there has been an increase in permits requested for growing medical marijuana. The influx has allegedly created electrical issues that impact nearby businesses.

“These growing operations draw a significant amount of electricity, which can impact electrical availability for other businesses in the area,” according to the motion.

“The amount of economic business Saco will be going into in the next year is going to require us to think strategically about where we place things with power usage,” Doyle said.

Last September, the Saco City Council voted to limit medical marijuana growing operations to a caregiver’s home and the industrial business zones. This most recent moratorium restricts new caregivers even further, to only growing in their homes. Caregivers in Maine are limited to providing for up to five patients at a time.

The moratorium does not affect any active growing operations within the Industrial Park, only those seeking new permits.

“Central Maine Power is charged by the Legislature to supply power and meet the demand … the growth of these businesses with high power consumption needs is above what most other businesses would require for similar sized buildings and properties. We, as a community, the power company, and individual businesses are always planning for what their growth and opportunity needs are,” said Saco Economic Development Director William Mann.

The moratorium will allow 180 days for the city to collaborate with Central Maine Power to address concerns. The city council hopes to find a solution within this time.

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