Attorney Thomas Hamel discussed the cultivation facility planned for Downing Industrial Parkway.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The floodgates have opened.
With two months before commercial, recreational marijuana sales are legal in Massachusetts, businesses are getting in line to open up shop. On Tuesday, five new businesses jumped the first local permitting hurdle as they seek to open marijuana facilities.
"You can expect more applications related to various marijuana uses," City Planner CJ Hoss told the Community Development Board on Tuesday night, and presented the members with a map of the numerous proposals that have come before the city which will be updated in the future.
So far, three companies have received local permitting — Berkshire Roots and Heka Health both received approvals for locations on Dalton Avenue — and Temescal Wellness. Those had all started permitting when only medicinal marijuana was legal.
And now, Commonwealth Cultivation, Kryppies, Mass Yield, and Green Biz have all received the first approval in the permitting process for either cultivation or retail.
Timothy Mack is looking to open one of each. He is looking to open a retail shop under the business Kryppies at 1450 East St. and a cultivation facility on the adjacent Commercial Street.
"We plan on purchasing products from other cultivators in the area," Mack said of his retail shop.
He is looking to hire about 10 employees at the retail shop and said he is working with a security firm that specializes in marijuana facilities. He said all of the glass at the shop will be replaced with shatter-proof panes to further tighten security. He hopes to be open from 9 or 10 a.m. until 8 p.m.
The Community Development Board doesn't know what type of traffic congestion the retail shop will ultimately create since there isn't one in the city right now so is recommending a sign directing customers to additional parking in the rear to help ease that burden. Mack also agreed that to return to the city should there be an issue with traffic to find a resolution.
"At this point, it doesn't appear to be an issue but it is a good safeguard," Hoss said.
Mack plans to grow in a 5,600 square-foot facility at 8-12 Commercial St. He said the same security measures will be added, with the exception of instead of just tinting the windows at the cultivation site, he places on sealing them off from the inside.
"I plan to have five rooms. We are going to vertical growing with LED," Mack said.
Only cultivators will be allowed in the building, he said.
"There really won't be any changes to the building beside indoors," Mack said.
Meanwhile, Jack Carney, owner of Green Biz, is looking to open a dispensary at 139 North St. He said he'd be using one 800 square-foot unit for the business but after office space is carved out, the retail space will be 629 square feet. He hopes to be open from 10 a.m. until 10 p.m.
"We would like to stay open until 8 or later if we could," Carney said.
Being downtown, the Community Development Board had concerns about the signage. Carney said the design isn't finalized and is will to comply with requests from the city. The Community Development Board is letting the Department of Community Development comes to standards on the signage.
"We are willing to work with the city in how you want this presented because we understand this is in a historic downtown," Carney said.
On South Street, Carney is looking to open a second location. At 1021 South St. he has plans for a similar facility with similar hours. The only concern there from the board is ensuring the proper parking requirements are fulfilled and landscaping. The building is owned by George Haddad and Carney said he'd work with him to come up with landscaping options.
Jack Carney is looking to open two retail establishments.
As for parking, the issue isn't so much whether or not there is enough but rather if the spaces are properly marked. Hoss said there is plenty of space to fit the requirements but Carney isn't sure if the spaces are actually painted to be the proper size — something the building inspectors will measure to ensure compliance with the permit.
In Downing Industrial Park, Andrew and Brian Vincent are looking to open a cultivation site. Attorney Thomas Hamel said George Whaling is looking to purchase the former Cintas property at the very end of the parkway and Commonwealth Cultivation — the Vincents — are looking to open the facility. Whaling would later become a partner in the business, Hamel said.
Hamel said the company would be the sole occupant of the 33,000 square-foot building. The company looks to start with a 15,000 square-foot cultivation operation and "we have every expectation of expanding."
Hamel said there will be 10 employees hired for the location and the facility would not be open to the public at all.
"We don't see traffic as a major player. We are on a public way. We are in an industrial park," Hamel said. "This is going to be a cultivation facility. It is not going to be open to the public."
Later adding, "we don't have expectations to be doing much of advertising in terms of signage."
The building will need some roofing and other work, which Hamel said will cost around $200,000, but that is separate from the business. Once Whaling purchases the property that work can begin and the build-out of the cultivation operation would happen on a separate track.
None of the approvals Tuesday means the business will be opening up. The Zoning Board of Appeals is tasked with issuing a special permit to allow such a business to move forward and the state needs to license the companies.
Nonetheless, those five add to three others in existence, and more applications are expected to be on the way. Hoss said he doesn't expect the city to hit the 35 retail establishment cap the City Council approved less than a month ago when it finalized the zoning bylaws.
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Kathleen Theoharides, secretary of energy and environmental affairs, visits the site of culvert project in Pittsfield being funded through the state's climate readiness program.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Kathleen Theoharides was in Pittsfield on Friday to review a state-funded culvert site and meet with local officials to discuss the state's climate readiness program.
She joined Mayor Linda Tyer at the Churchill Street culvert, a site which recently received grant funding through the state's Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) Program. The city was awarded an $814,524 state grant in June for the Churchill Brook and West Street Culvert Replacement Project.
Through the MVP program, which begun in 2017, municipalities identify key climate-related hazards, vulnerabilities and strengths, develop adaptation actions, and prioritize next steps. The initiative which initially started as a $500,000 capital grant program has now increased to $12 million. Pittsfield is among the 71 percent of communities across the commonwealth now enrolled in the MVP program.
"The governor and the lieutenant governor have made resilient infrastructure a priority all across the state and I think it's really important to know that we have a really vested interest in Western Massachusetts communities as well as all across the state, not forgetting the Berkshires or Pioneer Valley," said Theoharides in a statement. "Our MVP program is really focused on these types of partnership investments and looking to design infrastructure for the challenges we're seeing today and moving forward as climate change increases."
Four names will be on the preliminary ballot but only three candidates showed for the debate held by the Pittsfield Gazette and hosted at Berkshire Community College. The moderator was radio host Larry Kratka and Pittsfield Community Television aired the event.
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