The first retail marijuana shop proposed in Danbury won’t jam traffic, study claims

Photo of Rob Ryser

DANBURY — The city’s first retail pot shop proposed on a busy section of Federal Road will not cause congestion, according to a study, although Danbury is reserving its right to charge the shop owners as much as $50,000 for traffic control during the grand opening.

“(Danbury) may charge … for any necessary and reasonable costs incurred by the municipality for provision of public safety services in relation to such opening,” reads a memo from the city’s planning staff to BUD-R Hartford Holdings, the company proposing open Danbury’s first marijuana retail shop on a heavily traveled section of Federal Road, near the overpasses of Interstate 84 and Route 202.

A study commissioned by BUD-R estimates that the new retail marijuana shop will draw about 500 more car trips to Federal Road on a typical weekday and about the same amount of extra car trips on an average Saturday. That would be a 2 percent increase in traffic volume for the busy commercial highway, which averages 22,000 vehicle trips per day, the study said.

“Therefore, the proposed development should not have an adverse impact on by-pass traffic,” the study reads.

Traffic impact will be one area planners scrutinize on Wednesday when the BUD-R proposal undergoes its first public hearing.

Danbury, which allows a limited number of marijuana business in select commercial zones under regulations passed in August, will entertain a second, unrelated request in December for its only medicinal marijuana dispensary on the west side to add recreational pot sales to its business model and become a hybrid retailer.

On Wednesday, representatives from BUD-R will present plans to transform a small 1,900-square-foot former commercial rental building into a marijuana retail shop with a reception area, an office, and a vault.

In addition to a security plan with video cameras, security lights and alarms that BUD-R must have as a condition of its license with the state, the city is requiring the vendor to limit sales to 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sundays and 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. other days, and to post a note that “No cannabis shall be applied, ingested, or consumed inside or on the premises of a cannabis retailer.”

Other conditions the city is requiring include a written “odor abatement program,” and the construction of a sidewalk that connects to properties to the north and the south.

The city also wants BUD-R to change a bathroom on the plans that only has a door to the outside.

“[T]he floor plan must be revised to show an interior door to the restroom,” the city’s memo to BUD-R reads.

The proposal to open what would be the Danbury area’s first retail pot store follows a year of debate among leaders about how warmly the city should welcome the newly decriminalized drug.

After a year-long moratorium, the city adopted regulations that cap the number of marijuana businesses according to category, allowing for a total of two hybrid retailers or a total of three businesses in the following categories: one medicinal marijuana dispensary, one recreational pot business, and one hybrid retailer. The regulations also allow one micro-cultivator — a farmer whose grow space is between 2,000- and 10,000-square-feet.

The ink on the city’s new regulations was barely dry before its only dispensary filed a petition to change a technicality in the way the city measured the distance between a marijuana business and the nearest residential zone.

The Zoning Commission in late September voted to bend the rules for the dispensary known as The Botanist, clearing the way for it to petition the city for permission to add recreational marijuana to its business model.

A public hearing for the Botanist is planned for Dec. 7.   

Reach Rob Ryser at or 203-731-3342