PROTECT WESTPORT FROM TWO MEGA MARIJUANA DISPENSARIES ON POST ROAD
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Dear friends and neighbors :
We are a group of concerned Westport mothers and we hope you will invest five minutes of your time and read this letter.
We recently learned of several medicinal marijuana dispensary locations being proposed in Westport. There are two locations currently being evaluated by the Planning and Zoning Commission. Both are highly visible, high traffic, large retail buildings located at:
- 1505 Post Road East (currently DXL – Maple Avenue & Post Road East) and
- 833 Post Road East ( formerly Bertucci’s restaurant – Post Road East & Long Lots Road).
There will be a public hearing in front of the Planning and Zoning Commission to discuss these locations on Thursday March 15th at 7pm in Town Hall (Room 203) . We have spoken with P&Z and are confident they WILL approve these locations unless there is significant public opposition. At a minimum, please write to P&Z at the address below to express your views.
We banded together to raise public awareness of this situation in order to prevent the establishment of landmark retail marijuana locations in our town. Many of us believe in medicinal marijuana; however, all of us fail to see why “medicinal” dispensaries require large, prominent locations on the Post Road . Very few people we have spoken with were aware of Westport ’s recent dispensary zoning laws. Even fewer were aware of the retail locations being proposed. As a result, P&Z has received little if any opposition to date. If the P&Z commission does not hear any public opposition, they WILL allow these locations to operate .
We are fearful that having highly visible marijuana retailers will radically change the family nature of Westport. The size of the two proposed locations alone indicates the scale anticipated by the operators. As the attached article notes, the zoning laws in most of the surrounding towns do not accommodate marijuana dispensaries . Westport’s P&Z commission voted unanimously in June 2017 to allow two dispensaries in our town (there are currently nine in the entire state) and placed mild restrictions on where dispensaries may operate. Given the lack of zoning laws in the surrounding towns, it is fair to assume the majority of the traffic at Westport dispensaries will be from out-of-town patrons.
It is naïve to believe that the operators chose these massive, high visibility, high traffic, high rent locations solely to provide medicinal marijuana to acutely ill patients . Those needs could obviously be met at significantly smaller locations with significantly less rent expense. Medicinal patients know where to find medicinal dispensaries. Medicinal dispensaries do not require high visibility locations any more than cancer doctors do. We believe both operators chose prominent Post Road locations in anticipation of a day when medicinal or recreational marijuana is available to a much broader swath of the population . The marijuana industry is lobbying heavily in all state capitals to expand its recreational availability and Connecticut is exceptionally vulnerable given its fiscal condition.
We believe these prominent “medicinal” sites are simply placeholders until the current laws are relaxed – something we have seen play out in many other states. The operator of 1505 Post Road East has stated in its application that the Applicant is active in “all aspects of the cannabis industry” “with a presence in 11 states”. (see link to the site plan below). Imagine the traffic to the two locations if laws are relaxed and dispensaries are not zoned in the surrounding towns! Please act now if you do not want to wake up in a few years with a recreational mega - dispensary in your neighborhood or school district.
WHAT YOU CAN DO: Please help to prevent these landmark dispensaries from opening in Westport by w riting a note to the Planning and Zoning Commission (PandZ@westportct.gov) expressing your disapproval. Please CC us or shoot us a note simply saying “I wrote to P&Z” in the subject line, if you are comfortable. It will allow us to have a record of the public opposition. We promise we will not share or disseminate your email address to anyone else and we will keep the fact that you wrote to P&Z confidential. Our address is
If you share our concerns, please also attend the meeting in person to express your views.
When asked, town officials will be quick to note the lack of public opposition prior to P&Zs June decision to permit two dispensaries. We believe the lack of opposition was and continues to be a result of very few residents being aware of the scale and prominence of the operations being proposed. Our goal is to increase the public’s awareness. Please share this information with your friends and neighbors.
Please keep in mind :
• 1505 Post Road East is barely outside of the 1,000 foot zoning restriction from Long Lots Elementary School and shares a sidewalk with elementary school children who walk a nd bike to Long Lots each day.
• Greens Farms Elementary School would be flanked on two sides by mega - dispensaries.
• School buses on their way to and from Long Lots, Greens Farms, Bedford Middle School & Staples pass these locations each day. There is no que stion th e signage and activity at each location will have an impact curious young minds.
o Ironically, the Westport Department of Human Services recently hosted an outside speaker, Dr. Ruth Potee, who outlined the correlation between exposure to recreational substances at a young age and the propensity for addiction down the road.
• The two proposed addresses have approximately 18,000 square feet of retail space combined and are approximately 1.3 miles apart. For comparison, t he dispensary billing itself as “the largest recreational marijuana store on the planet” is less than 16,000 square feet in Las Vegas
Regarding the 1505 Post Road East location (Maple Avenue & Post Road East) there are numerous child - focused businesses in the immediate area, t hese include:
• Willows Pediatric Group (one of the largest pediatric groups in the area / state)
• Zania c (daycare and tutoring facility)
• Kidville (a preschool play gym)
• Sharky’s (children's hair salon)
• Westport Music Centre
There is a reason P&Z placed restrictions regarding where dispensaries may operate. Presumably the reason is to minimize the exposure that the public and especially the children of our town will have to the dispensaries. Given, the prominence of these lo cations, we struggle to see how these locations are within the spirit of the zoning laws.
It is unfortunate that our town’s officials have gotten us so far along in this process without widespread public knowledge. Our elected officials are making deci sions now that have significant potential future consequences . It is not too late to act .
We encourage you to attend the P&Z hearing on Thursday March 15 th at 7pm in Town Hall (Room 203) . We need to represent how we view our town and preserve its existing character. The only way to convince the majority of the P&Z Commission members is by writing to the P&Z Commission and voicing y our concerns at the meeting.
Lastly, it is important for us to note that we truly sympathize with severely ill patients in Westport who do not wish to travel 15 miles to Milford for medicinal marijuana. However, the operators of these locations are clearly not prioritizing the medicinal needs of Westport patients. Genuine medicinal needs could be met on an entirely different scale than what is being proposed. If the sites were small, discreet locations, we would not feel compelled to take action. However, the way we see it, these operators are taking advantage of our town’s zoning laws and investing in what they hope will be a gold mine down the road – at the expense of our town’s character.
If you share our concerns, please forward this to other residents, taxpayers and voters who may feel the same.
Link to the public notice of the P&Z Hearing:
Link to the site plan for 1505 Post Road East:
Article outlining some the details:
https://www.westport - news.com/news/article/Three - parties - vie - for - two - marijuana - dispensary - 12507333.php
Thank you for your time.
Sincerely, Concerned Westport mothers
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