Since that time, the state's Cannabis Control Commission has defined ground rules for production in Massachusetts, and the town has seen one submission for a special permit under the 2017 bylaw to establish an indoor/outdoor grow facility on Blair Road.
William Preite applied to the board in August with his plans to open a sporting goods store in the former Doran's Carpet Shop to sell fishing and hunting gear, along with ammunition and firearms he described as high-end collectible pieces. Preite had pulled plans to open a store in Williamstown last year after encountering opposition.
The debate over the definition of the structures — and whether there was a permit issued for their construction — lead to heated exchanges between town officials and the owner at last week's Planning Board meeting.
Although the board heard from both proponents and opponents of outdoor production during the hearing, it was clear that the winning argument came from the farmers: Marijuana is a legal cash crop that can potentially make their operations more economically viable.
It is a local election season like none we have seen before, and the town's two candidates in the only contested election on the ballot are missing out on opportunities to see the voters and make their case.
The 60-year-old building had been occupied by Central Markets and its successor Price Chopper until the latter closed in 2016. The property has been for sale but has not evoked enough interest from a buyer despite the neighborhood's hopes a small grocer might be interested.
The vote was 3-2 with Chairman David Rhinemiller, Dave Krzeminski and Lisa Gazaille in favor and Sandra Moderski and Michael Mach against. The matter will now get passed to the Board of Selectmen to be put on a warrant article which will then be taken up at Town Meeting.
Girard said they reached out to the city's engineering department, building commissioner, and the permitting coordinator and submitted some new plans. He said because the change was so minor the building inspector signed off on it and they blocked off the area and prepared for construction.