Belfast's Planning Board on May 9 approved a new cannabis-themed business at 1 Mill Lane, a building that has been home to several restaurants and other retail businesses over the years, most recently WinsMor Garage Door Co.

Artisan Farms, according to applicant Paul McCarrier, will offer specialty garden products, cannabis paraphernalia, handmade goods including T-shirts, hemp oils and other products, including medical marijuana. Education will be offered at the site as well, on various topics such as gardening and health and wellness.

McCarrier proposed a similar use at another location that was approved by the city, according to City Planner Sadie Lloyd. However, that location fell through, McCarrier said, because of ownership questions. In this case, he said, he will own the building.

Exterior changes to the building will be minimal, he said. Plans include replacing rear windows with more secure and efficient models, McCarrier said, and replacing siding, repainting trim and rebuilding the front deck. Those changes fall outside the purview of the Planning Board, Lloyd noted, and are the responsibility of the code enforcement officer.

McCarrier, a licensed medical marijuana provider and advocate, said patients will access the building through a secure area that is separate from the retail space.

In response to Planning Board concerns about screening, McCarrier agreed to place seasonal potted plants in an area near the end of the handicap ramp, which also would prevent cars from blocking the ramp.

Based on the square footage of the retail business and eventual plans for a residence on the second floor, Lloyd said 13 parking spaces are required — there are 15 available. No traffic study is required of the site, which is adjacent to Route 1.

No members of the public commented on the plan in person, but Lloyd noted two written comments from abutters outside the Mill Lane notification area, who expressed concern about existing problems with speeding and litter. Lloyd said those complaints should be directed to Belfast Police.

McCarrier assured the board there would be no growing or trimming of marijuana at the site. He said it must be stored in an airtight location, which also prevents aromas from escaping.

"So things that people may associate with other properties in town being odorous are not factors on this property," Lloyd said.

The application was unanimously approved. The second floor apartment already is a permitted use and will not require McCarrier to return to the Planning Board, Lloyd said.