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Cheshire Hears From Possible Cannabis Cultivator

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
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CHESHIRE, Mass. — Stafford Green Inc. wants to operate an outdoor organic marijuana cultivation operation at 80 Stafford Hill Road.
Francis Maguire, president and part owner of Stafford Green, told the Selectmen this week about himself, his business plan, and his request for a host community agreement.
"I am not asking for anything tonight ... but any questions I can answer please ask," Maguire said on Tuesday. "I would like to attain the host community agreement right away so I can start this process."  
He said the company is applying for a license as a Tier 5 outdoor operation and that it would produce "shake," a flower nugget, which will be processed into pre-rolled cones.
"The cones will be sold exclusively as a seasonal mass organic product by us in the heartland of Berkshire County," he said. "These cones are a very terrific financial venture just because it is a niche product."
He said he already went over his security plan with the police chief and will install an outer 8-foot high fence with barbed wire with an interior fence around the growth area.
"All growth would take place in the secondary fence with gate access only to employees, police, and Fire Department," he said. 
Six utility poles will be installed and will hold 12 security cameras. 
He said a 42-foot by 60-foot greenhouse will be erected to process the harvest.
"It is a nonpermanent structure so it can be taken down in the winter if need be," he said.
A gravel road will grant access to a small parking area for up to 10 vehicles and a culvert will be installed to manage excess water.
The facility would typically be operational six months out of the year but eight months in 2019 to accommodate construction.
Maguire said hours of operation would be from sun up to sun down and the company would initially hire eight to 12 employees.
The Selectmen handed over the host community agreement they have given out to other businesses and told Maguire it is negotiable.
Maguire said he would be looking to work out what his business could offer the town.
"We are looking for any way we could benefit the town with any tax revenue that is generated," he said. 
Maguire would still have to go before the Planning Board and the Zoning Board of Appeals.
In other business, Chairwoman Carol Francesconi said work at the fire station should be complete in the spring.
"Come spring it will all be in tip-top shape," she said.
Town meeting allocated money to repair and restructure a collapsed portion of the roof. Although this work is largely complete, other leaks were found and will be addressed. 
Francesconi said interior work will also be complete by the spring. At this point, the town will be looking at replacing the garage doors.

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Cheshire Receives $10,000 Senior Grant

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
CHESHIRE, Mass. — The town has received a $10,000 AARP grant to support age-friendly activities and purchases.
Town Administrator Emund St. John IV said the AARP grant will allow the town to enhance the Council on Aging and senior activities.
"I was pretty happy to hear about that," he told the Board of Selectmen on Tuesday..
The grant can be used to increase mobility options for local seniors and St. John mentioned purchasing recumbent bikes and helmets. 
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