Lower Southampton Supervisors vote to amend medical marijuana ordinance

The Lower Southampton Board of Supervisors voted to amend a zoning ordinance passed last fall that regulates medical marijuana facilities in the township.

The dispensaries were originally zoned to be in the township’s C-2 heavy commercial district, which is primarily located on Street Road and Bustleton Pike. There was a provision in the ordinance that any dispensary had to be at least 1,000 feet from residences.

In reviewing township maps, Zoning Officer Carol Drioli found an issue with the ordinance as it was written.

“All those Street Road and Bustleton Pike properties, there’s always a house within 1,000 feet,” Solicitor Francis Dillon explained. “In effect, you weren’t allowing them anywhere in the township, which is exclusionary zoning.”

In order to avoid a challenge, Dillon and Drioli recommended that the board votes to allow them in the industrial district.

If there were a challenge due to exclusionary zoning, the township runs the risk of developers being able to define on their own where they want to go in the township.

“It’s a huge risk,” Drioli said.

To mitigate that issue, the board voted to amend the ordinance, giving special exception to include dispensaries as approved uses for the industrial district, located along Pike Road and off of Pennsylvania Avenue.

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