The Waldoboro Planning Board met April 28 for an ordinance review workshop and addressed street access and driveways, shoreland zoning, home businesses, and medical marijuana dispensaries.

Working on those issues at the meeting were Planning and Development Director Patrick Wright and planning board members Charles Campbell, Abden Simmons, JoAnn Myers, Carlo Bianchi, Charles Flint and Jonathan “Jody” Perry.

The planning board’s sole vote of the night concerned shoreland zoning protection for outlet streams. At previous meetings, a Waldoboro resident asked the planning board to change the shoreland zone around low-value wetlands (in terms of their habitat) from 250 feet to 75 feet. The planning board voted to do this on March 20, but after the vote it was learned that other regulations would be needed to meet state minimum guidelines.

As somewhat of a compromise, the town warrant for June 8 includes an amendment to the land use ordinance that will allow for structures to be built as close as 75 feet to a low-value wetland.

State law will allow Waldoboro to change the shoreland zone around low-value wetlands to 75 feet but the town will have to add protection for the streams that come out of those wetlands. Planning board members asked Wright about the number of people the regulations would affect, and Wright said there are more property owners along outlet streams than there are abutting low-value wetlands.

The goal of putting outlet streams into the shoreland zone is to protect water quality. The planning board voted 5-1, with Flynt dissenting, to move the regulation forward. For the change to go into effect, town residents will have to approve it at the polls after the planning board holds a public hearing, considers public comment and sends it to the Board of Selectmen.

A Waldoboro business owner asked the planning board to adopt a change to the home occupations section of the land use ordinance to allow for more flexibility in the number of people that can work in a home business in a residential zone. Robert Butler and his wife own and operate the Jojoba Company on Friendship Road. The current regulation allows family members at the residence to work at the business and no more than two other people. Butler said he wants to hire a third non-family employee.

Butler proposed a change to town regulations to give the planning board the authority to consider applications on a case-by-case basis from business owners that want to have more than two non-family employees in a home business in a residential zone. He said applicants for this exemption would have to show that the business would not change and neighbors would not be adversely affected. A public hearing could also be held.

The planning board did not vote on changing the rules for home occupations but is considering Butler’s proposal and other possible changes.

Wright and the planning board continued the long-running review of street access and driveways with the goal of clarifying when certain improvements are required and how development can proceed.

On the issue of medical marijuana, Wright said the planning board may someday be asked to work on regulations for a dispensary or growers. This is a long-term issue for the town, as the state has convened a task force to study implementation of the law that was passed by voters in November 2009 to create a regulated distribution system to help people with medical conditions.

According to the state Web site, “Maine has allowed prescribing, and limited possession, of medical marijuana since 1999 but the law lacked any distribution mechanism and questions arose of noncompliance with federal law and of how patients could legally obtain the prescribed marijuana.”

Last fall, the Obama administration said it would not prosecute users of medical marijuana if they were in compliance with their state law.

“Maine is the fifth state to provide for dispensaries of medical grade marijuana for persons with debilitating and chronic medical conditions,” according to the state Web site. “These not-for-profit dispensaries will be licensed and regulated by the Maine Department of Health and Human Services but specific agency procedures and funding are not yet in place.”