OXFORD — Two Planning Board members who cast the dissenting votes in a controversial 3-2 approval of the town’s third and final marijuana grow permit have resigned.
In the unexpected development, former Interim Town Manager Becky Lippincott announced at the Oxfor Board of Selectmen’s meeting Thursday, Aug. 17, that Planning Board Chairman Stuart Davis and member Dennis Fournier have also submitted their resignation.
The resignations leave the board with only three full members – Denise Landsperg, Gerald Nicklaus and Dana Dillingham – but it is enough to have a quorum and conduct meeting business, said Code Enforcement Officer Joelle Corey-Whitman.
Members of the Planning Board are appointed by the Board of Selectmen.
In his brief letter of resignation to Lippincott, dated Aug. 11, Davis said, “Please accept this letter as my resignation as a member of the Town of Oxford Planning Board.”
Fournier notified the Board of Selectmen in a letter dated Aug. 14 saying he would like the resignation to take place immediately.
“With the increasing amount of activity over this past year, the job has required more time for research and field inspections which I just don’t have the extra time to properly execute for the responsibilities of the seat,” he wrote. Fournier thanked the board for the opportunity to serve the town.
Although it is unclear why at least one member resigned, the resignations come on the heels of a controversial 3-2 vote of the Planning Board recently that gave the third and final marijuana grow permit to Stevenson Enterprises Inc. of 517 Main St. Davis and Fournier were the dissenting votes.
The proposed marijuana grow site is being leased by Actnow GC Inc. and subleased to tenants who wish to cultivate medical marijuana.
The Planning Board met on Aug. 10 to determine whether they had given the permit to Stevenson Enterprises Inc. at a previous meeting as the 517 Main St. occupants believed, or not. Following 90 minutes of debate, three of five members agreed they had voted to award the permit with one contingency at a previous meeting. The contingency has since been met, according to Corey-Whitman.
Davis and Fournier said they did not believe a vote to award the third and final marijuana grow permit had been previously given to Stevenson Enterprises Inc.
It is unclear whether HBL LLC, which also sought the permit, will challenge the decision. Company officials have 30 days to appeal the board’s decision to deny them a permit to cultivate medical marijuana based solely on the fact that there was not a fourth permit to give out.
Greg Hamann of HBL LLC said the appeals question is in the hands of his attorney.
Former Chairman Walt Mosher resigned in June meaning the board is now down three members. Because there are currently no alternates, all three members must attend the meetings in order to have a quorum.