The SD-3 zone is located in the area between Mill Street and Route 206/94 around and adjacent to North Park Driven and South Park Drive.
With three applications for retail cannabis shops in hand, the Town Council is proposing to add one more possibility within the general area of Mill and Water streets, which are already cleared to hold two each.
On Monday, the council introduced an additional retail opportunity within the SD-3 zone, but retained the limit of two shops each on Mill and Water streets.
The council also approved a change in name for the 117 Water St. retail cannabis business from Newton CB to Skyland Herbal.
Dylan Faner, who owns the site at 78 Mill St., and ran KRP Auto Repair there before moving the business to Franklin, appeared before the board with two consultants for nearly three hours to answer questions about converting the building on the half-acre site, built in 1960, into a dispensary.
While none are yet open, Newton is just months away from having three retail cannabis retail stores, a delivery service and a manufacturing plant.
On Monday, the Town Council approved Curiosity Cannabis to open a retail operation at 70-72 Mill St., which would be next door to another retail store 78 Mill St., and across the street from where a manufacturing business also has plans before town and state approving agencies.
A Sussex County municipality is moving forward with local approvals for a retail cannabis shop, even as the state continues to lag on allowing any “legal weed” sales beyond expansions of medical dispensaries.
In Newton, an adult-use marijuana dispensary at 117 Water St. has gotten green lights from the Newton Township Council and Land Use Board, according to Town Manager Thomas Russo Jr., and also has also paid its municipal fee.
A marijuana growing and processing facility proposal for an existing building in town moved a step forward when members of the town's Planning Board said they were not against the concept.
Newton Agriculture, the company behind the proposal, will now move to invest in architectural and engineering studies as its next step, said its representatives.
The Newton Agriculture plan calls for growing and processing recreational-use marijuana in parts of the existing red brick building that takes up the corner of Mill and Clinton streets.
The Town Council introduced two ordinances Monday which will allow for retail sale of cannabis products on Water and Mill streets and will ban consumption of cannabis on all town-owned property, including public parks.
The town already bans smoking of tobacco products at its facilities and in town-owned parks. The proposed ordinance changes, which go to a public hearing at the council's June 28 meeting, add cannabis and vaping to the list of smoking prohibitions.
The Newton Town Council members discussed a draft ordinance during the meeting on Monday about zoning for cannabis businesses. The draft ordinance under consideration allows for all six types of cannabis businesses established in the legislation signed by Governor Murphy in February.
The council members and town professionals discussed “permitted” versus “conditional” uses with regard to where in the Town of Newton retail and other businesses could be located on Water and Mill Street in the T-4 and T-5 zones.
Forms of business that involve cannabis could be allowed in Newton, if the Town Council approves new zoning regulations that would keep such businesses away from residential areas and schools.
The council was presented with a draft ordinance Monday that would have allowed all forms of cannabis businesses, from growing to packaging to sales and delivery, to be allowed on Water and Mill streets and in the T-4 and T-5 zones.
“I believe it makes our jobs as police officers much more difficult.,” Newton Police Chief Robert Osborn said. “Most concerning though is the fact that if you find a juvenile with alcohol or marijuana, it does not allow our agency to legally tell the parent of this initial contact.”
Another feature of the new law is the spotlight shone on penalties for police if civil rights are violated. Something police have “always known to be aware of,” according to Sparta Police Chief Neil Spidaletto.