Municipality Developing Zoning Rules For Cannabis Production and Processing Facilities

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Municipality developing zoning rules for Cannabis Production and Processing Facilities RR By Rachel Everett-Fry, Local Journalism Initiative ReporterThe North Grenville Times

The Municipal Council Meeting on June 9 was set to address a zoning amendment for Cannabis Production and Processing Facilities in North Grenville. The recommendation from Director of Planning and Development Amy Martin was to repeal the Interim Control By-Law that has been in place since 2019, and approve and enact a new by-law. The proposed by-law, which is the product of an in-depth study and public consultation, is designed to, “regulate the use of land, buildings and structures within the Municipality of North Grenville, to include definitions and zoning provisions for Cannabis Production & Processing Facilities.” In light of some new questions brought to light by community members, however, this decision was deferred to the June 15 meeting, where it seems likely to be passed.

Developing a framework for the cultivation, production, and processing of cannabis has been an ongoing issue for North Grenville. In 2019, council enacted an interim bylaw restricting the establishment of cannabis facilities. Council did so in order to give staff the opportunity to prepare an in-depth Cannabis Study in relation to land use and municipal planning. In 2020, council extended this interim control by-law to ensure that the Cannabis Study be thorough and comprehensive. In March of this year, the Cannabis Study was made public for comment.

The interim control by-law is set to expire in August 2021, and last week’s meeting was set to hear recommendations .

Director Martin presented her recommendations based on the Cannabis Study, public consultation, and a land use review. Director Martin thoroughly explained the process of developing guidelines that work for North Grenville. She said that the proposed regulations “consider what was common and consistent throughout Ontario, and what, through the public consultation process, works for North Grenville.”

The guidelines are also informed by guidelines from the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs; The Ministry of the Environment; and the Provincial Policy Statement (PPS) on rules for land use planning in Ontario.

United Counties of Leeds and Grenville Official Plan (COP) provides a high-level legal framework encouraging municipalities to keep a range of economic developments, promote normal farm practices and protect the right to farm, and encourage the location of more industrial economic lands along the Highway 416 corridor.

Director Martin noted common public concerns included: clarity of definitions, clear distinction between large scale plants and micro-processing facilities, a desire for stringent setbacks, and concerns about odours. Her report seems to have taken each of these concerns to heart.

She specified that attached to the report is a list of definitions, as requested by members of the public, clarifying the exact legal definitions of key words.

Cannabis Productions and Processing Facilities, Cannabis Micro-Processing/Cultivation, and Nurseries are to be permitted in Economic Enterprise zones. The proposed zoning regulations for such cannabis facilities requires large indoor facilities to keep their activities indoors, to be located at least 150 meters from sensitive land use if equipped with air treatment control, or to be located 300 meters from sensitive land use if not equipped with air treatment control, and that the establishment of all such facilities be subject to Site Plan Control (landscaping, lighting, buffering, etc).

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