Haverhill to Again Pore Over Pot Zoning Maps Ahead of Final Ordinance Approval

Marijuana zoning maps are getting a second look during a Thursday meeting of a City Council subcommittee. (File photograph)

A City Council subcommittee plans to again pore over maps outlining Haverhill’s proposed zones for recreational marijuana ahead of a final vote to approve the city’s zoning ordinance.

Colin F. LePage’s Administration and Finance Committee comes together in a public session Thursday, Nov. 29 to take another look at the maps in the wake of inaccuracies discovered in versions created by the city engineering department. At the Nov. 13 Council meeting, City Solicitor William D. Cox Jr., recommended the ordinance—and accompanying maps—be sent back to the subcommittee and have Planning Board signoff before going in front of the City Council for a final vote.

According to Cox, the maps differed slightly from the original parameters outlined in the zoning ordinance. As a result, the city’s moratorium on recreational marijuana will be extended past the original Dec. 1 date, as the Planning Board will not likely see the revised ordinance until after the New Year. Councilors are expected to discuss the moratorium’s new timeline during the Nov. 27 meeting.

As WHAV previously reported, two downtown districts were zoned for marijuana retail operation earlier this year. One zone includes Washington Street and areas of Emerson, Locust and Granite Streets, along with portions of Railroad Square. The second waterfront zone welcomes a marijuana retailer to the area as long as the location has frontage on Merrimack Street. In all instances, buffer zones are in place to keep marijuana away from places children frequent.

Per state regulations, Haverhill needs to allow the opportunity for up to six licenses to be issued, which correlates to 20 percent of the number of liquor licenses issued in the city.

Caroline Pineau, who owns downtown’s The Yoga Tree, hopes to open her own Haverhill retail shop called STEM once zoning is approved. She’s already been fast-tracked for approval by the state cannabis commission.

“I have been really excited about hearing fellow business owners and residents choosing to focus on the positives about what this type of enterprise can mean for Haverhill,” she told WHAV. “I think that’s the path forward: To focus on the positive.”