NATICK — Neighbors near the Wellesley line on Rte. 9 are calling on Town Meeting to place a 300-foot buffer between their homes and any retail marijuana business.
Town Meeting starts Tuesday, and it’s expected to take up the citizen petition that calls for the townwide buffer zone.
What’s driving the effort is the fact that several marijuana shops want to locate on Rte. 9 near the Wellesley line. The area is among the retail marijuana districts established after a Special Town Meeting in 2018.
Neighbors in the Jennings/Morses Pond neighborhood are concerned that a retail marijuana business will bring increased traffic, noise and diminished property values.
Martha Paynter has lived on Grove Road for 25 years, and sponsored the citizen petition.
“It will be onerous to this neighborhood,” she said.
Traffic isn’t Paynter’s only concern. The town already has a 300-foot residential buffer zone for medical-marijuana establishments, so Paynter believes it’s only fair that one exist for retail marijuana shops.
“It’s a consistency issue,” she said. “Retail marijuana brings three times the (business) volume of medical marijuana.”
Town Meeting established the medical-marijuana buffer zone in 2014. It set a 300-foot distance from the nearest boundary of a neighborhood that is zoned residential.
Proponents of a retail buffer zone sent information last week to Town Meeting members to highlight their concerns.
“I hope they will be open-minded, and educate themselves about it,” Paynter said.
The Select Board has the authority to grant up to two retail marijuana licenses, per a vote at 2018 Special Town Meeting.
It awarded one last month to Cypress Tree Management when it voted unanimously to sign a host community agreement with the business to locate at the Cloverleaf Mall, near the Rte.9/Speen Street interchange
The agreement runs for five years, but Cypress Tree can’t open until it receives a final license from the state Cannabis Control Commission, plus all required local permits.
A town committee is expected to recommend a business to get the second license during the Select Board’s April 21 meeting.
The four businesses vying for that second license — and where they want to open — include C3 Industries (42 Worcester St.); Revolutionary Clinics (6 Worcester St., current location of Nine East Wine Emporium); Phytotherapy (45-61 Worcester St., the former location of Bernie & Phyl’s Furniture); and ReLeaf Alternatives (291 Worcester St).
Revolutionary Clinics and Phytotherapy have also submitted a joint application for the second license, according to James Freas, Natick’s director of community and economic development.
Ultimately, Paynter believes Town Meeting needs to vote for the buffer zone.
“I hope Town Meeting members recognize the validity of our concerns and do the right thing,” she said. “If it’s right for medical marijuana, it’s right for retail marijuana.”
Henry Schwan is a multimedia journalist for the Daily News. Follow Henry on Twitter @henrymetrowest. He can be reached at email@example.com or 508-626-3964.