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Sarah Gapinksi of SK Design Group presents site designs for two marijuana facilities one outside, one inside to the Community Development Board.

Pittsfield Community Development Approves Two Marijuana Cultivator Site Plans

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Community Development Board approved two site plans Tuesday for marijuana cultivation establishments.
The first site plan is from J-BAM LLC that wants to open an indoor cultivation facility at 71 Downing Parkway, the former Coca-Cola warehouse.
"Basically the marijuana will be cultivated in modules, which will be manufactured off-site and brought to the facility," Sarah Gapinksi of SK Design Group, said. "It will be a hydroponic grow operation."
Gapinksi said J-BAM only looks to use 16,000 square feet of the 20,000 square-foot structure. The current owner of the building will maintain 4,000 square feet for its own use.
The entire plot is 3.4 acres.
Gapinksi said they are not proposing any exterior changes but will erect a security fence. She said the plan  is to reuse the existing sign and and add security cameras and lighting and add two parking spots.
She did add that the Fire Department asked that some unused cars on the property be removed.
The board did say J-BAM still have to execute a Host Community Agreement with the city.
Before making this approval, the board approved an application request from Northeast Cultivation LLC that wants to convert a farm at 997 Peck's Road to an outdoor cultivation facility.
Gapinksi, who also represented Northeast LLC, said the area is zoned agricultural and is about 6.7 acres but won't all be used for growing product. 
"It will be grown in a bag system placed on the ground and spread out throughout the area," she said. "We would not be developing 6.7 acres of marijuana; it will be spread out on 100,000 square feet."
She said the barn on the property will be reused for drying, manufacturing, and processing. The plan is to install two greenhouses for future use.
A fence will be placed around the property and there will be 24-hour surveillance but Gapinksi said the operation shouldn't be visible from the road. 
"It sits generally lower than Peck's Road and abutting properties can't see it," she said. "Houses, vegetation, and topography really make this part of the property pretty well hidden." 
The only question the board had was about smell and Gapinksi said abutters would likely only smell the product during peak growing season. She did add that there are other farms in the area.
Members of Northeast Cultivation LLC said they did hold a community meeting and did not receive any push back from neighbors.
The board recommended the plan to the Zoning Board of Appeals.
The board continued a special permit approval request from True East Leaf, another proposed marijuana cultivator at 161 Seymour St., because it did not have enough members present to award a special permit. 
The board approved a site plan to make a small addition to the Pediatric Development Center on Columbus Avenue. This plan was approved before but the work was never done.  

Tags: marijuana,   Planning Board,   

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Berkshire County Kids' Place Gala Celebrates Courage

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff

Michael Supranowicz was presented with the Founders Award. He was president of the Kids' Place board for two years and retired from Hillcrest Educational Centers. 
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The "Wizard of Oz's" the Cowardly Lion finds his courage by facing his fears with the help of his friends. 
"Like the Lion, many children just need someone to help them realize that the courage they need to heal from the abuse they have suffered is already inside of them," said Rosemarie  Phelps, chairman of the Berkshire County Kids' Place Board of Directors. "For 26 years, the Kids' Place has helped lead these children and their families down the path to recovery."
The path on Friday night was a yellow brick road to "A Night in the Emerald City," the theme for these year's fundraising gala for the nonprofit that was held at Country Club of Pittsfield. Phelps donned a purple witch's hat to welcome guests to the event that also included recognition of several individuals for their work for Kids' Place. 
Berkshire County Kids' Place has been providing a safe and healing place for abused children for more than a quarter century. The agency is funded through the state Department of Children and Families, grants and donations. It works closely with related agencies and the Berkshire County district attorney's office to serve the more than 400 children that pass through its doors each year. 
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