Medical marijuana ordinance passed by Hampton Council
Hampton Township Council passed several ordinances at its Nov. 28 voting meeting, including the medical marijuana ordinance.
Public hearings were advertised and held for this and all ordinances.
The medical marijuana ordinance is being addressed by municipalities and communities throughout the state in response to Pennsylvania passing the Medical Marijuana Act 2016, Act 16, said Martin Orban, land use administrator for Hampton Township.
Several modifications required by Allegheny County Planning Agency have been made since its previous draft, such as references to buffer yards per the township’s zoning ordinance, and adding language from the state’s medical marijuana act, among other editing items, said Orban.
The Hampton ordinance would apply to dispensary and grower applicants. There have been no applicants for such in Hampton as of yet, said Orban
Hampton can address where a dispensary and grower would be located in regards to zoning. It’s the state that regulates how the business is handled.
“You can’t handle a marijuana business any different than a pharmacy,” said Orban, referencing potential dispensaries.
Like pharmacies, dispensaries can be zoned in a neighborhood and/or commercial zoning district. The ordinance, which can be found via the township website, provides for certain regulations regarding location.
Growers may be zoned in an industrial district.
Medical offices and clinics are currently permitted in highway commercial as well as pharmacies, which also are permitted in neighborhood commercial, according to an earlier township strategic planning meeting. Manufacturers are currently permitted in light and heavy Industrial zoning districts. Agricultural operations, including greenhouses and similar structures, are currently permitted in Conservation B districts.
As far as making additional regulations to the ordinance, Orban noted municipalities can make regulations more strict than state legislations, but just not less.
Township council also voted approval of a fireworks ordinance at last week’s meeting. Orban said this is a new ordinance to the township as the state recently passed that consumer fireworks can be sold in the state. Thus, municipalities are able to create their own ordinance.
Regulations of both permanent and temporary consumer fireworks facilities are addressed in the ordinance.
A more stringent version of the township’s forestry ordinance was also passed. Among other provisions, this is meant to preserve, protect, replace and properly maintain trees within the Township of Hampton to aid in the stabilization of soil by the prevention of erosion and sedimentation.
Orban said recent public comment on forestry and timber harvesting was taken into account and township’s legal representative provided amendments in regard to that.
Specifically, it included “if any application is submitted … within three years of the date of approval of a timber harvesting permit under this ordinance, then the application under the applicable zoning and land use ordinance shall be reviewed as if the property was in the same condition as it were immediately prior to the approval of the timber harvesting permit.”
The ordinance also provides “the right to harvest trees is exercised with due regard for the protection of the physical property of adjacent landowners,” among other things, according to the ordinance.
Finally, a stormwater ordinance management plan was also passed, which is a mandated update of the stormwater ordinance by Allegheny County, said Orban.
All ordinances can be accessed via the township website at www.hampton-pa.org.
Natalie Beneviat is a Tribune-Review contributor.