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A large crowd attends Thursday's hearing of the Zoning Board of Appeals. They broke into applause when it was confirmed a pot farm had withdrawn its application.

Williamstown Pot Farm Proposal Withdrawn by Applicant

By Stephen DravisiBerkshires Staff
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WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The applicant who had sought to create marijuana plantation on Blair Road withdrew its application for a special permit on Thursday night.
 
Massflora, a subsidiary of Colorado-based Euflora Cannabis Dispensaries, asked the Zoning Board of Appeals to let it pull the application with prejudice.
 
"My client thinks it's beset not to pursue that site and this project at that location," Massflora's attorney, Don Dubendorf, told the board.
 
Massflora already had approval from the town's Conservation Commission to go forward with the project, which included a 5-acre outdoor plantation and a 7,000 square-foot building.
 
But the bylaw regulating marijuana that town meeting passed in 2017 allowed production facilities only by special permit.
 
A March hearing before the ZBA drew a capacity crowd to the Selectmen's Meeting Room -- almost all in attendance to express concerns about the negative impact of the proposed facility in the neighborhood.
 
Pointing to the "substantially not more detrimental to the neighborhood" standard in the bylaw for special permits, residents who live near the proposed site cited several detrimental consequences, ranging from the noxious odor of marijuana in the field to light pollution from the security lights Massachusetts law mandates for such a facility.
 
Residents also expressed a fear that even with the state-mandated security measures in place, a pot-growing facility would attract crime -- using the example of a California case described in the January 2018 issue of Rolling Stone. "Several men in tactical gear, posing as authorities and armed with rifles, had ambushed the property," that article read in part.
 
Although word circulated on Thursday through the neighbors' attorney that Massflora planned to withdraw its request, more than a dozen residents still attended Thursday's hearing, breaking out in applause when the issue was laid to rest.

Tags: ZBA,   marijuana,   

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Mount Greylock Committee Hears Concerns About Turf Field Plan

By Stephen DravisiBerkshires Staff

Rubber infill from the turf field at Weston Field adheres to a reporter's leg after a minute lying down on the surface to take a photo.
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The Mount Greylock School Committee last week declined to slow plans for installing an artificial turf field at the middle-high school but members noted that there is still time to weigh health and environmental concerns before shovels go into the ground.
 
The full School Committee earlier in the spring authorized the Phase 2 grounds subcommittee to put the turf field out to bid this summer.
 
Since that time, committee members have heard from a number of residents concerned about studies that have linked "infill" materials in used in turf fields to higher rates of cancer and environmental contamination due to runoff from those fields.
 
"Some of the chemicals found in crumb rubber are known to cause cancer," a fact sheet from the Toxics Use Reduction Institute at University of Massachusetts at Lowell reads in part. "Because of the large number of chemicals present in the infill, as well as the health effects of individual chemicals, crumb rubber made from recycled tires is the option that likely presents the most concerns related to chemical exposures."
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