And yet another medical marijuana grower eyes Oxford

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REHAB — Renovations appeared to be underway at the proposed site of a marijuana grow facility in a building housing a  gym in one of five buildings at MGA Cast Stone on Route 26.

OXFORD — The Planning Board has received a fourth site plan application for the cultivation of medical marijuana.

The board is expected to review the application of HBC LLC at its meeting tonight, Thursday, Aug. 10, to cultivate marijuana in a 10,000-square-foot building – one of the five buildings on the property of MGA Cast Stone at 7 Oxford Homes Lane on Route 26 near the Oxford Plains Speedway.

The building is currently being used as a gym with 12 parking spaces, but the proposed use will redesign the parking lot for 10 vehicles.

The request for approval by Greg Hamann, CEO and part owner of MGA Cast Stone, will go head-to-head with a site plan application submitted by Stevenson Enterprises Inc. for the town’s third and final medical marijuana permit at 517 Main St., that can be issued under the April 2016 special town meeting revised Medical Marijuana Ordinance.

That amended regulation, part of the town’s overall Zoning Ordinance, reduced the prohibited zone for marijuana grow operations near a public or private school from 1,000 feet to 500 feet in order to meet state requirements, restricted medical marijuana grow facilities to a mixed-use zone, and limited the number of grow facilities to three – the same as the number liquor stores allowed at that time in Oxford.

The Planning Board has been meeting to determine whether members will agree to set precedent by allowing the Stevenson Enterprises Inc. marijuana grow facility.

In August 2016, the Planning Board mistakenly approved a medical marijuana grow facility permit that did not conform to the required 250-foot setback from the nearest residence for the former Burlington Homes building at 620 Main St., owned by well-known Auburn developer George P. Schott of Nobility LLC.

Stevenson Enterprises Inc. subsequently submitted an application earlier this year that also did not conform to the required setback but it was not discovered until after the application had been initially reviewed and conditional approval had been given.

Now the board must decide whether it will approve the application because the precedence has been set for the nonconforming setback or deny it and force the applicant to appeal the case.

That discussion is expected to continue at tonight’s meeting, along with the HBC LLC application review.

No decision is expected to be made on the HBC LLC application until the Stevenson Enterprises Inc. application is resolved.

It is possible that the Stevenson Enterprise Inc. application could be denied and could lose an appeal and that would open up the possibility that the third marijuana grow permit could be awarded to HBC LLC.

The Planning Board will have the town attorney present at tonight’s meeting to ensure the board is “on track” with its decisions, said Code Enforcement Officer Joelle Corey-Whitman.

Corey-Whitman said she believes the town will not issue the third and final permit to another applicant if the Planning Board turns down the Stevenson request until the appeals process plays out.

Hamann said in his application that they will pursue the necessary state permits if the town permit is obtained.

The Planning Board meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. in the Town Office.

ldixon@sunmediagroup.net