The Town of Princeton is one step closer to rolling up its cannabis policies, following a recent public hearing.
However, decisions to accept zoning and official plan amendments to allow for cannabis sales in the downtown core, and production and distribution of the product in the municipal business park, did not pass without challenge.
Councillor Barb Gould, who lives directly across from the industrial area slated to be rezoned, stepped away from the table to make her point as a resident and not a politician.
She then declared a conflict of interest on a vote held later at the regular council meeting, which was given unanimous approval by the rest of council.
“I had removed myself from the public hearing in my capacity as councillor so that I could speak to the topic as a citizen. I had bounced it back and forth as to whether I should or shouldn’t and in the end I felt my voice may be a bit louder as the citizen in this case. My main concerns are not just for me personally as a property owner near the sites, but
for the whole community. It’s great that we are open for business but I personally think we should want to be mindful of what business we are inviting,” she told The Spotlight.
While supporting the creation of a retail zone to sell cannabis, and of allowing for cannabis cultivation facilities, Gould objected to the wording of the legislation as it affects the business park.
“Myself and my husband are property owners directly adjacent to the Light Industrial Park and feel that this rezoning would negatively affect our property value. Allowing up to 10 lots to be able to produce cannabis within this one area wouldn’t be prudent. Although the intent may not be to allow 10 lots to be producers, once the rezoning happens and the lots sell, how does council propose to stop business from developing within the bylaw?”
The properties are to be zoned for cannabis production, but also subject to site specific council approval, which Gould maintains is inconsistent.
Gould said while her position may not technically constitute a conflict of interest, she wanted to to avoid “even the perception.”
About six people attended the meeting and one other submission on concerns about odor from cultivation facilities was heard.
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