Woodstock eyes recreational marijuana, MUBEC adoption

WOODSTOCK — Woodstock selectmen are pondering a request for a recreational marijuana ordinance, and are also mulling whether the town should adopt the Maine Uniform Building and Energy Code (MUBEC).

At a meeting earlier this month, resident Chandler Simpkins asked the board to consider a recreational marijuana ordinance that would allow growing and wholesale selling, according to the meeting minutes. He operates a small farm and said he would like to have the opportunity to grow marijuana as a crop, the minutes said. He said it would complement his planned maple syrup, firewood/lumber and vegetable sales.

Earlier this year a moratorium was put in place ahead of the town’s potential medical marijuana retail store ordinance, in order to allow time to develop an ordinance to provide guidelines for development of the facilities. A committee is currently preparing such an ordinance for a March 2021 Town Meeting vote.

It was suggested in the discussion that the committee also develop a recreational ordinance.

Simpkins was expected to research wording for a warrant article for the ordinance to guide the development of growing and wholesale selling of recreational marijuana. He is the first resident to bring the recreational marijuana request to the selectmen for consideration, according to Town Manager Vern Maxfield. The issue is expected to be discussed again at a selectmen’s meeting in January.

The board is also considering the adoption of MUBEC. Code Enforcement Officer Kingston Brown supports it, according to the minutes.

Advantages cited were that the code makes inspection regulations standard and can be helpful for insurance premiums.

On the down side, it would slow the building process for the contractor/property owner waiting for inspections, would mean more expense to the town because of more CEO visits as well as more work for the Planning Board, the town officials said in the discussion. Additional regulations could also hamper some homeowners by necessitating the hiring of more outside work, beyond what they can do themselves.

Fire Chief Kyle Hopps described advantages he saw for MUBEC, according to the minutes, noting that all builders do not currently build to code. For example, he said, fire alarms are not always hard-wired in homes and some have no alarms at all. He said that just a basic requirement for smoke alarms in order to obtain a certificate of occupancy would help. He also said that too often two wood stoves are connected to one chimney.

Resident Bob McQueeney, a retired contractor, said he agreed, according to the minutes. He said because of time and labor constraints shortcuts are often followed, which diminish quality control. The only recourse some homeowners then have is small claims court.

The selectmen speculated MUBEC would be difficult for townspeople to support.

One suggestion was that extra costs to the town could be paid for with increased building fees. Chairman Ron Deegan requested a list be compiled of all building permits issued, by category, over the last few years to provide some insight on how much might be collected through increased fees. That information will be discussed in January.

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