WATERVILLE — The City Council decided Tuesday night to ask the planning board to hold a public hearing and make a recommendation on a request to rezone property at 475 Kennedy Memorial Drive in order for it to be turned into an adult-use marijuana store.

The property, which formerly housed the Pine Cone Furniture store, was rezoned years ago from Commercial-C to Commercial-A because the owners wanted to put an extension on it, according to City Planner Ann Beverage.

Remington Street Properties LLC wants to purchase the property from current owners Todd and Jewel Currie and have it rezoned back to Commercial-C.

Council member Jay Coelho said that the other properties within that zoning map are all Commercial-C and it made sense to refer it to the planning board for rezoning if other properties in its vicinity were also Commercial-C.

A question that arose about the property’s intended use was whether it was in violation of the city’s Marijuana Ordinance. Article VI states that adult-use and medical marijuana establishments are prohibited from operating within 500 feet of the property line of a property used primarily for religious worship or related religious activities.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at 26 Washington St. is within 500 feet of the property in question.

But, according to Coelho, the proximity of the properties shouldn’t pose an issue.

“That 500 feet rule is only from the back of the building,” Coelho said. “From the entrance, which is obviously where people will come in and the most business will be conducted, the property line is further than 500 feet.”

Councilors had no discussion among themselves or with the audience before voting unanimously to refer the project to the planning board for a recommendation.

Now that the council has moved forward with the referral, the planning board has been given a 14-day notice and the item will be on the board’s agenda for its meeting on Sept. 9.

Meanwhile, Beverage will notify everyone who owns property located next to or across the street from 475 Kennedy Memorial Drive of the referral to the planning board. She will also release a public legal notice.

If the planning board recommends the council approve the project, councilors will vote at two separate meetings whether to approve the rezoning or not.

Jessica Oliver, who wants to run the marijuana store, will then have to get a license from the city’s code enforcement officer.

Waterville’s Planning Board meets at 7 p.m. on Sept. 9. in the Chace Community Forum at the Bill &  Joan Alfond Main Street Commons at 150 Main St.

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