|Three More Marijuana Companies Seek Pittsfield Permits|
|By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff|
03:58AM / Wednesday, July 18, 2018
|Nathan Girard said a new building would be constructed on Merrill Road.|
Julia Germaine was one of the first to seek approvals to open a medical marijuana facility after that was legalized and is now looking to do recreational sales as well.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Three more marijuana companies are working their way through the local permitting process.
Temescal Wellness, Bloom Brothers, and David Graziani all received approvals from the Community Development Board Tuesday night -- though the first was more of an update to a previously approved medical marijuana facility to become recreational and the third requires a secondary approval.
Nonetheless, all three will now be asking for the required special permit through the Zoning Board of Appeals on Wednesday. The city has seen a number of companies work through the process and are expected to see even more.
Temescal had already been given approval from both the city and the state to open a medical marijuana facility on Callahan Drive. The new 3,000 square-foot building is now eyed to have both medical and recreational operations.
"The facility was designed and constructed in anticipation of being able to create the physical separation of medical and adult use marijuana sales," Chief Operating Officer Julia Germaine said.
Germaine said the facility will need no further altercations, has 27 parking spaces that is in excess of the required 25, and she hopes to have the facility in operation in September. The hours are expected to be Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m. and on Sunday from noon until 5 p.m.
Since the approvals had already been in place for medical, the Community Development Board easily gave its approval for the company to include recreational sales.
Brothers Nathan, Nick, and Ben Girard are looking to open a retail facility on Merrill Road -- on the east side between the Sunoco gas station and Laurel Street. Nathan Girard said he already owns the property, including the building at the corner of Laurel and Merrill Road. In the empty lot next to that -- listed as 400 Merrill Road -- Bloom Brothers plan to construct a similar-looking building for a dispensary. The hours haven't quite been determined yet and Ben Girard will be in charge of the operation.
His proposal, however, has raised some concerns with the neighborhood and the Community Development Board. The location is near the Spectrum methadone clinic, which has caused some problems according to neighbors. But Girard said his proposal has opened up a conversation about the neighborhood and Spectrum has now hired more security to alleviate those concerns.
The board, which focuses on the site plan itself, had concerns with the appearance of Girard's proposed building and landscaping. The Community Development Board gave him a positive recommendation, but under the condition that a landscaping plan and alternative building appearances be approved by city staff before building permits are issued.
"I would like to see a rendering of that building that is a little bit softer in appeal," Chairwoman Sheila Irvin said, with member Elizabeth Herland adding that she'd like a particular focus on the side facing Merill Road.
Member Floriana Fitzgerald, meanwhile, said there are fairly new trees planted on that lot now and would like to know more about what that will look like. Girard said some of those will have to be removed, but in general, the hope is to preserve as much mature vegetation as possible.
"We want to make the impact as close to zero impact as we can," Nathan Girard said of the landscaping.
Girard said there is still plenty of time to settle on the design. He said the best-case scenario is to be open six months after the state gives its approval and it isn't know how quickly that will come. He wants to look at possible options to spruce up the building that will both make it attractive, while still complying with state standards.
"I think making adjustments is very simple. I don't think it is complicated," he said.
Meanwhile, David Graziani and his brother Daniel are seeking to open a retail establishment downtown. They are looking at 28-32 Bank Row -- between Patrick's Pub and the courthouse.
Daniel Graziani said the exterior of the building will remain basically the same. The windows will have a dark film over them, with the store's logo in the center. He said inside there will be an L-shaped casing to display the products and a point of sale system in the back.
"At the very entrance we will have a wall set up where we will have trained security on staff to check identification for every customer that comes in," Graziani said.
The hours are expected to be from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from noon until 6 p.m. on Sunday. He said he'd schedule product delivery outside of the court operations to help alleviate traffic concerns.
The Community Development Board did press him on parking. There is no requirement for downtown businesses to provide parking, unlike in other sections of the city, but the board felt there is already congestion near the court. Graziani said he will have his employees park on side streets so as to not be in front of merchants.
The city did receive a letter from court officials with concerns about the location. Community Development Board member Gary Levante added that because the proposal is for downtown, there is added importance that the plan is aesthetically pleasing.
"This is in our downtown footprint. We have invested a lot of money and resources to beautify the downtown and that first floor retail is very important," he said.
The Community Development Board, however, didn't have renderings to analyze. The Grazianis are on the agenda for the Zoning Board of Appeals meeting on Wednesday and the Community Development Board is asking the ZBA to hold off on issuing the special permit until it can see more detailed plans.
Interest has been high all across Massachusetts from businesses and entrepreneurs seeking to tap into the new industry. Pittsfield has seen a steady stream of interest from retailers and cultivators.