WINSLOW — Town councilors discussed what steps to take regarding the recent vote on Nov. 8 to legalize recreational marijuana in Maine at their monthly meeting on Monday.

While the vote is now being recounted after legalization won by a margin of less than 1 percent, towns and cities across the state have already started working to enact moratoriums on marijuana social clubs and retail stores.

The moratoriums temporarily ban the establishment of the clubs and stores to give towns time to create regulations governing them and their operations.

Councilor Ken Fletcher proposed the council enact a moratorium so it has time to prepare an ordinance, as the state may not even have rules and regulations for another few months.

“We don’t know what the state regulations are going to be,” Fletcher said. “I suggest we have a moratorium in place for the sale and the social clubs until we can get more information and put together a reasonable and fair ordinance.”

Councilor Jerry Quirion agreed, saying a resident had already approached him about starting a recreational marijuana business.

Town Manager Michael Heavener said he would prepare a moratorium ordinance for the next meeting.

Councilors also discussed a potential cap on school construction regarding the renovations to expand the Winslow High School now that the town and school district have voted to close the Winslow Junior High School and consolidate.

Councilor Patricia West said she wished there was more information from the committee as well as more input from the public at meetings.

“If we don’t let (the architect) know that this is what we’re willing to spend … he could jack that up,” Quirion said, referring to the project proposals.

Fletcher pointed out that the consolidation will end up saving money, which could offset debt bond costs, but that the town also has to think about transportation spending, which has been down for years, and the potential demolition of the old school, which could cost $800,000.

The council did not vote to pass a cap, but agreed to get more information from the committee.

In other business, the council voted 7-0 to table a proposed revision to the shoreland zoning ordinance after councilor Steve Russell questioned how many changes the document contained and whether the town really needed to align completely with state standards.

The proposed changes were largely to align with new revisions from the Maine Department of Environmental Protection, which include replacing volume with footprint calculations and add setbacks and transfer timber harvesting to the Maine Forest Service.

Russell made the motion to table the ordinance, saying he’d like to study the new and old documents side-by-side.

The council also voted 6-0 with one abstention on the second and final reading of an ordinance that will allow mobile homes to be used in the conservation district.

The Town Council also voted to create an account called MSW Reserve Account, which would hold any money the town received from the Municipal Review Committee, or MRC, a nonprofit that represents the solid waste interests of more than 100 Maine communities. Winslow chose to exit the MRC in 2018, when member towns are expected to send trash to Fiberight, a new plant in Hampden, and expects to get back leftover funds from tipping fees over the year. The funds will go toward future waste expenses.

Madeline St. Amour — 861-9239

[email protected]

Twitter: @madelinestamour

 


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