South Orange Trustee Bob Zuckerman announced that a license for a cannabis manufacturing facility was removed from the proposed ordinance allowing the sale of legal cannabis in South Orange at the South Orange Planning Board’s Feb. 7 meeting, two weeks after residents in the Academy Heights neighborhood expressed concerns about manufacturing having a negative effect on the area at the Jan. 24 Board of Trustees meeting. The planning board decided at its meeting that the ordinance is consistent with the village’s master plan with a vote of 6-0; members Michael Miller and Carolyn Morin abstained.
Manufacturing is one of the six market classes of licensed cannabis companies; those facilities will be involved in the manufacturing, preparation and packaging of cannabis items. Zuckerman said at the planning board meeting that people who are looking to grow and cultivate cannabis are looking for large facilities for their businesses, but South Orange doesn’t have the room for large spaces.
“We take the community’s concerns to heart; we always do,” Zuckerman said. “We heard very loudly and very clearly, especially from the residents in Academy Heights, but also other neighbors, that they had environmental concerns and other concerns regarding the use of manufacturing. We thought the best course of action would be to start off with retail.”
A manufacturing facility would have been permitted to be built in an industrial zone between Valley Street and the railroad tracks, near Academy Heights. But Zuckerman said that, even though the area is zoned as industrial, it may no longer actually look that way.