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Two More Marijuana Companies Seek Pittsfield Permits

By Andy McKeeveriBerkshires Staff
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The owner of the former County Wide Rental building on Dalton Avenue is trying for a third time to get a marijuana business into the property.
 
James Scalise of SK Design is representing Pittsfield Investment Group again in a pitch to receive permits for a marijuana business at 531 Dalton Ave. The site was originally the first location permitted for a medical marijuana facility in 2014 but the plans fell through. In 2016, a new vendor looked at the space but that too went the same path.
 
Scalise returned to the Community Development Board on Tuesday looking for permits again because the approvals are linked to the operator and not the property. Scalise said the building plans haven't changed. It will still be a 6,000 square-foot building and parking has been coordinated with Ribco to allow for enough spaces. The screening, architecture, lighting, and shrubbery that had all been approved in the past remains unchanged. 
 
"Some work did start on the building. The building has been stripped of a lot of its exterior," Scalise said.
 
City Planner CJ Hoss said there was an oversight in advertising a public hearing for a required parking waiver and the permitting process has to be delayed. Hoss said this time there could be concern about the proximity of another marijuana retailer, Berkshire Roots, but traffic issues could be addressed by consolidating curb cuts.
 
Meanwhile, another marijuana company is looking for permits to operate in a building at 239 West St. Devin Bajardi and Mark Penna of Pure Botanicals are seeking to have a more discrete location for retail on the leased property. 
 
"It is in the same footprint but we are going to make it a little more modern," Bajardi said.
 
Particularly the company is looking to put up a new chain link fence with a green screen to provide more privacy. That will replace the current fence that has trees growing into it. He said the fence will link up to an existing 7-foot fence owned by an adjacent property owner.
 
The Community Development Board approved of the plans and believes the updates to the property will make the site look better. Pure Botanicals now needs approval from the Zoning Board of Appeals to take the next step.
 
The city has already approved a number of marijuana establishments but none have yet to open. Only Temescal Wellness has gotten the state approvals needed to open its doors. 
 
In other business, Hoss reported that an application has been submitted for the redevelopment of the White Terrace apartments. Hoss said the application is calling for 41 residential units in the three buildings but there will be some questions about parking. He expects that permit to be on the agenda next month.
 
The board also tabled a request from Lipton to expand its 183 Elm Street location to add more parking. The convenience store is looking to purchase 11 Livingston and expand its parking lot. That is expected to be taken up in March.

Tags: community development,   marijuana,   

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Adult Learning Center Grads Get New Lease on Life

By Andy McKeeveriBerkshires Staff

Student speaker Brittany Sullivan shared her story of how she turned her life around. More photos from there ceremony can be found here.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — When Brittany Sullivan lost her sister, her life spiraled out of control. 
 
"When I was 14 years old, my sister died suddenly in a car accident. This sent me into a downward spiral that led me to drinking, smoking, and dipping into opioids, which eventually got me kicked out of my home at 17. Shortly after, I dropped out of high school," Sullivan said.
 
At the time Sullivan was already struggling with depression. She felt that she was "stupid and inadequate." That feeling had set in because she didn't start school until the age of 9 and when she did, she was far behind the other students. She was held back a grade and was constantly being pulled out of class to receive extra help.
 
"At the tender age of 9, I accepted the life that I was stupid and inadequate. I already struggled with anxiety and depression. It wasn't long before I started full-on panic attacks and self harming. I had already built a firm foundation of self-hate and acceptance that I was a failure and I hadn't even finished elementary school," Sullivan said.
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