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Bethel: residents approve budget, Appeals board decides on dispensary issue

Bethel residents have approved a municipal budget.  The municipal spending plan was rejected by Bethel residents three times and the town entered the new fiscal year using the same numbers as last year's budget.  Thursday's vote was approved by a margin of 550 ballots.


The Board of Finance has cut a total $516,000 from the original proposal. The plan still represents a $515,000 spending increase over the previous year.  That is mostly being driven by wage changes from last year, employee benefits and medical insurance. 


Tax bills could not be calculated until the municipal budget passed. Once the bills are sent out, Bethel residents will have 30 days from the new due date to pay the bill.


Also on Thursday night, the Zoning Board of Appeals decided that the town planner properly issued a zoning permit to D&B Wellness to open a medical marijuana dispensary on Garella Road.  The Board reportedly took two votes, the first upholding the "retail use" portion of the town's decision and then about not violating federal laws.


The property is zoned for retail use and town officials had argued that the dispensary is considered a pharmacy, therefore a permitted use.


Philip Lombino and Michael Moore filed an appeal of the Zoning Enforcement Officer approving and application for a zoning Permit filed by Angela D'Amico and Karen Barski.  Monroe-based D&B Wellness Compassion and Care Center gained approval in May as one of only six dispensaries licensed by the state.


The plans call for a high level of security and to be operated as an "appointment only" facility and would employ a pharmacist, receptionist and a counselor to educate patients about dosage and alternative therapies.  There will also be a full time security guard.  Video surveillance and other security features will be in place.


The kinds of products that can be sold at dispensaries are very specific and is limited to those prepackaged from licensed manufacturers.  It's meant to treat tremors, Parkinsons, MS and epilepsy.  

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