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01/18/2023 08:00 AM

An Inappropriate Location

Westbrook is considering allowing a cannabis shop to open at 755 Boston Post Road in a Neighborhood Commercial Residential (NCR) zone where numerous homes are located beside and behind this location. There are many concerns, including that Westbrook is allowing cannabis sales in a residential neighborhood when there are many more suitable locations in commercial zoning. Also, Westbrook is one of the few towns, if not the only, to allow cannabis sales in residential neighborhoods.

We know that cannabis is coming to Westbrook, but this location is inappropriate. According to Westbrook's zoning regulations, the purpose of an NCR zone is to be "compatible with New England village-scale streetscape and does not generate large volumes of traffic." The applicant has stated 200 to 500 cars may be expected daily. Two hundred to 500 cars a day is certainly a large volume of traffic. The parking lot at the proposed location only has available parking for 27 cars. In fact, employees will be forced to park over a mile away.

Also, this will be an all-cash business. Security and safety are true concerns. Additionally, there is a public school bus stop at this site where children will be present twice a day. This shop will be open from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., seven days per week.

Even though Westbrook’s Planning Commission did not approve this proposal, the Zoning Commission seems intent on approving it. More than 150 residents were at the last Zoning public hearing and spoke against the location.

Residents accept that cannabis will be sold in town. That is understood, but a better, safer, more secure location makes much more sense for the town, our citizens, children, and the shop itself.

Frances C. Russell