Cape Elizabeth extends freeze on marijuana businesses

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CAPE ELIZABETH — The Town Council on Wednesday extended a moratorium on retail marijuana businesses.

Councilors added an additional 180 days to the 90-day moratorium already in place.

They also discussed the town’s firing range ordinance and finalized their annual goals.

The Feb. 15 meeting was rescheduled from Feb. 13 because of bad weather.

The council on Dec. 12 enacted a 90-day moratorium in response to a statewide referendum that legalized recreational marijuana. In December, councilors said it was important to put a moratorium in place since many nearby towns had already taken the same step.

On Wednesday, councilors approved a marijuana moratorium ordinance that will go into effect March 12, which is the day the original moratorium will end.

The 180-day moratorium is intended to give the council time to study the potential impact on the town from retail marijuana establishments. Over the next few months, the council will decide whether it wants to allow the business, and if so, how they should be regulated.

Firing range ordinance

The council on Wednesday also approved sending the town’s firing range ordinance back to the ordinance committee for review.

The decision was made at the recommendation of the committee, which said technical amendments may be required. The ordinance went into effect in April 2014.

According to a memo from Councilor Patty Grennon, who is also the committee chairwoman, the ordinance should be reviewed now that it’s been “used in a real-world application.” The ordinance was used during the license approval process for the Spurwink Rod & Gun Club, and, although it is the town’s only gun club, the ordinance applies to any club that may form in town.

The club’s license was approved in October 2015, but the town didn’t get a chance to formally review the ordinance last year, Grennon said. She said committee members want to ask town staff for comments and feedback regarding how the ordinance worked when used to review the Spurwink club.

After the committee evaluates the feedback it receives, members will determine if any adjustments need to be made. If revisions are necessary, the ordinance committee will recommend them to the Town Council.

In her memo, Grennon said ordinance reviews are typical after an ordinance is used for the first time, but the committee will only discuss minor changes, not major proposals.

Council goals

The final list of Town Council goals for 2017 was also approved Wednesday night.

The council on Dec. 5 considered a long list of goals; a condensed list of five was approved Monday. In December, Town Council Chairman Jamie Garvin said his plan was to create a “focused, measurable, and impactful set of initiatives.”

The first goal is to have effective and transparent town leadership. Part of this was hiring a new town manager, which has been accomplished. Matt Sturgis was hired Jan. 12 to replace Mike McGovern, who retired Dec. 31.

The second goal is to have a sustainable community and to implement projects that improve the town. The third goal is to better engage residents by improving and expanding communication.

The fourth council goal for the year is to ensure boards and committees are conducting business within the correct parameters. The council said it wants to work closely with the various town boards to make sure all priorities are aligned with the town’s focus.

The fifth and final goal is to improve town infrastructure, facilities and services, which includes assessing the future of Fort Williams Park

Kate Gardner can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 125 or kgardner@theforecaster.net. Follow her on Twitter: @katevgardner.

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I'm a reporter for The Forecaster covering Freeport, Yarmouth, Chebeague Island, and Cape Elizabeth. I'm from a small town in NH no one's ever heard of. When not reporting, I can be found eating pasta and reading books, often at the same time.