SOUTHBURY — The Economic Development Commission, which did not have a quorum for its meeting on Wednesday, August 25, had an informal discussion about Sustainable CT, tourism resources, the Zoning Department’s cannabis pamphlet and a possible First Night.

The majority of the discussion revolved around Economic Development Director Kevin Bielmeier’s report.

Mr. Bielmeier said he had spent a large amount of his time working with the Sustainable Southbury team, Sustainable CT Fellow Adrian Huq, Digital Communications Specialist Gosia Liedlich and others on the Sustainable CT application.

Mr. Bielmeier said the town currently had more points than necessary for the bronze certification, but didn’t have points in all 13 action items, which is a requirement for the certification.

He said that he is confident the town can get the bronze category when submissions reopen in April 2022.

Those seeking additional information may visit www.sustainablect.org or www.southbury-ct.org/sustainableCT.

Mr. Bielmeier said the town is part of the Western Connecticut Tourism District and he and Ms. Liedlich plan to update the town’s profile on that site.

Mr. Bielmeier added, “it’s all free. We need to take more advantage of the state’s resources.”

Those seeking additional information may visit www.partner.ctvisit.com.

Mr. Bielmeier noted the town’s Zoning Department put together a pamphlet highlighting key points of SB 1201, the law that legalized cannabis for recreational use.

The pamphlet details what aspects of the law are within town zoning jurisdiction and what aspects are not. For example, the pamphlet notes that zoning could potentially restrict or prohibit cannabis retailers from opening in town, but could not restrict or prohibit cannabis possession or delivery.

The Zoning Commission has begun to discuss the new cannabis law and plans to adopt a nine-month moratorium on cannabis establishments in town. The moratorium gives the commission time to write and adopt regulations.

Any regulations adopted by the commission will go to pubic hearing.

The commission plans to have a public hearing regarding the proposed moratorium at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, September 8, at Town Hall, 501 Main St. South.

Those seeking additional information may visit www.southbury-ct.org/cannabis.

Resident Kim McNeill attended the meeting and discussed the potential for a First Night celebration in town. Ms. McNeill lwrote asking other residents to support a First Night celebration in town in a letter that was published in the Wednesday, August 25, edition of Voices.

First Nights are culture and arts celebrations that often take place on New Year’s Eve, usually from afternoon until midnight.

Mr. Bielmeier noted the commission could recommend to the town to pursue a First Night celebration, but that the commission likely couldn’t plan and execute an event of this size.

He added if a First Night were to take place in town, it would likely be a labor of love from volunteers or a public-private partnership. Any approvals would also need to come from either the selectmen, zoning or other town boards and commissions with jurisdiction over special events.

“I just really think we could do some more activities that help bring town organizations together with businesses,” Ms. McNeill said. “That’s what I was hoping to get at.”

In other news, Mr. Bielmeier said he is still hard at work in his self-designated “Operation Brewery” project.

“I’ve got many interested brewers,” he said. “I just [have to] figure out where to put them.”

Mr. Bielmeier clarified for Voices on Friday, August 27, that the town does have a brewery, Watson Farmhouse Brewery. However, the brewery is a home enterprise. He said he hoped to match Watson Farmhouse Brewery with a location that could allow them a more traditional commercial brewery-taproom.

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