Smyrna Town Council members voted unanimously Monday night to amend the town code to allow for compassion centers in the town’s Industrial/Office/Research Park District.

The amendment will allow the centers to sell medical marijuana in town.

Council previously discussed the ordinance in a meeting in March. Town lawyer Barrett Edwards explained at the time and reiterated Monday that council is prohibited by state code from banning the compassion centers.

“We’re allowed to regulate the time, place and manner of the sale but there’s a provision in the state statute that states no local government shall prohibit the centers,” Edwards said.

The ordinance was approved with conditions. The centers are not allowed to sell medical marijuana within the hours of 8 p.m. and 9 a.m., or on the weekend. Therefore, the centers can be open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Moreover, the compassion centers can’t be within 1,000 feet of a school. The 1,000-foot distance restriction allows for the centers to be in one of two locations – the business park on Artisan Drive or the future KRM business park north of Duck Creek.

Other conditions state no marijuana can be smoked or ingested on the premises, and no person under the age of 18 shall be permitted on the premises.

2014 tax rate set

Town council members approved the final assessment list and set the 2014 tax rate. When council approved the 2014 budget in December, it was approved with a five-cent tax increase. However, council voted Monday night to officially set the tax rate.

The tax rate for 2014 is 36 cents per $100 of assessed value, up from last year’s tax rate of 31 cents.

Meet the Candidates Night set

This year’s “Meet the Candidates Night” will be Monday, April 14 from 5 to 7 p.m. in the conference room at town hall. Town Hall is located at 27 S. Market St. Plaza.

Hugg said the event is held to allow residents to ask election candidates questions. He reminded everyone that even though there were two seats open in this year’s election, there will only be one seat to vote for in the election. Councilwoman Andrea Rodriguez was automatically re-elected for her at-large seat when no one filed to run against her. Therefore, the only seat to vote for in the Tuesday, April 29 election will be the District 2 seat. Former council member Anthony DeFeo will face Finance Committee member James Schwartz in the election.

“Since only the District 2 seat is vacant, only District 2 voters can vote in the election,” Hugg said.

Utility bill concerns

Councilman Jeff Flairty said several residents came to the last week’s Utility Committee meeting regarding their utility bill. He said residents are having issues with broken water pipes and their toilets running water, which have resulted in high utility bills.

“I’m urging everybody to pay attention to their toilets because residents have had bills costing thousands of dollars,” Flairty said. “At the end of the day we have a bill to pay too and we can’t back off of it.”