Oak Bluffs planning board votes to establish marijuana overlay district


After a sparsely attended public hearing last Wednesday, the Oak Bluffs planning board (OBPB) voted unanimously 4-0 to amend the special districts zoning bylaw to allow for a marijuana overlay district. The overlay district establishes areas in town where retail marijuana establishments could potentially operate, “while protecting the Town’s unique community character and while minimizing any adverse impact on adjacent properties, residential neighborhoods, elderly housing facilities, schools, and other places where children congregate.”

Retail sales are still a long way off in Massachusetts. The original law, passed in November last year, stated that retail sales could begin on Jan. 1, 2018. The legislature subsequently delayed that start date to July 2018.

“We don’t know what’s going to come out at the state level, but we want some sort of placeholder for when it does,” OBPB chairman Brian Packish said. Mr. Packish said that town counsel had reviewed the wording of the bylaw amendment.

Theresa Manning from the Martha’s Vineyard Youth Task force commended the OBPB for taking proactive measures.

The amendment will be on the town meeting warrant, and will require a two-thirds vote to pass.