DANVERS — Special Town Meeting is being asked to create zones at two industrial parks where medical pot facilities would be allowed to operate someday.
The meeting Monday could also boost the fortunes of the Tapleyville neighborhood with new zoning rules written by the Planning Board for an old industrial area along Holten Street.
The overlay zoning would allow for a mix of homes, stores, offices, repair services and restaurants. It’s seen as a model that could be used to revitalize downtown Danvers in the future, the town’s senior planner said.
Special Town Meeting gets underway Monday, Feb. 3, at 7:30 p.m., at Danvers High School auditorium. It’s a heavy agenda of 22 articles, most of them related to zoning.
The Tapleyville industrial zone is bounded by the Danvers Rail Trail to the south, Holten Street to the north and Pine Street to the east. The new overlay zone would promote small to mid-sized businesses, as well as housing, and both bicycle and pedestrian access.
The changes would allow for commercial businesses on the ground floor and residences above, similar to the town’s waterfront village district, which was approved in 2010.
Senior Planner Kate Day said the town worked with the Metropolitan Area Planning Council to take a look at a stretch of Holten Street in Tapleyville, an area that Day said has transitioned from industrial to a mix of residences and commercial uses.
The catalyst for this change has been the construction of a new building at the site of a former Methodist church at 78 Holten St., which will have a cafe on the ground floor and six units of housing above.
“It certainly refreshed the look of the area,” Day said. The new zoning rules are an overlay, meaning the present industrial zoning still applies.
In another article, Town Meeting will be asked to designate two areas where medical marijuana dispensaries would be allowed. This article stems from the passage of a statewide ballot question in November 2012 approving medical marijuana facilities. Last year, Town Meeting approved a one-year moratorium on such facilities to give the town time to come up with appropriate regulations.
The two areas where dispensaries would be permitted are within Danvers Industrial Park off Route 1 and in the Cherry Hill Drive industrial park off Conant Street. The rules for the medical marijuana dispensaries would come as an overlay district. Both areas have good road access, plenty of available spaces and are relatively isolated from residential neighborhoods.
Building Inspector Richard Maloney said people opposed to medical marijuana in town should still think twice about voting against the new districts.
“If you don’t zone it, they can go anywhere,” Maloney said. “Control it or don’t control it, that’s the option.”
Other articles on tap for Monday include a petition to the state Legislature to grant up to six additional liquor licenses in town, a measure aimed at boosting the fortunes of the downtown.
A budget amendment asks for a $70,000 transfer to the Police Department to help pay for an amplifier to provide for emergency radio and cellphone usage at Holten-Richmond Middle School.
Another article seeks $23,973 to replace the Fire Department’s self-contained breathing apparatus and related equipment. This amount represents the town’s 10 percent match of a Department of Homeland Security grant, with the cost for the firefighting equipment totaling $239,730.
Town Meeting is also being asked to approve a number of amendments to the zoning bylaws that would clarify some site plan approval, special permit and in-law apartment language. One change would allow new businesses to put up temporary “grand opening” signs for 10 days.
Staff writer Ethan Forman can be reached at 978-338-2673, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @DanverSalemNews.