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A marijuana cultivator plans to locate in the Stanley Business Park.

Marijuana Cultivators Eye William Stanley Business Park

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Marijuana cultivators Berkshire Kind plan to build a cultivation facility at the William Stanley Business Park.  
After a brief executive session Tuesday, the Pittsfield Economic Development Authority voted to support Berkshire Kind's intent to purchase land in the business park and erect a 20,000 square foot grow facility.
"We are excited to come in and work with the community and we believe that it is an important time for the industry," Philip Silverman, who owns the company with his brother Jeremy. "Doing things the right way is what will create a good base for this industry."
Philip, who currently lives in Brooklyn, N.Y., and has a background in finance and investment, said they reached out to PEDA and have been in communication since May. He said the area, community, and the board drew them to the area.
"The community has been welcoming and has been a great place to do this," he said. 
The proposed Tier 2 facility would be erected on Site 4, which is across the street from the future Berkshire Innovation Center. Jeremy Silverman, who lives in Albany, N.Y.'s Capitol District but plans to relocate to the area, said the 1.5-acre site that borders the parking lot is shovel ready. 
Berkshire Kind plan to open in two phases. In phase 1, it will construct the complete facility but for that first year will only use half of it. Philip said this would accommodate 5,000 to 6,000 square feet of canopy that would double in Phase 2. 
"There is a significant lack of supply in the cannabis market and you still have dispensaries that are limiting the amount you can purchase," Philip said.
He said they plan to invest between $2.8 million and $2.9 million into the facility. He said earnings from phase 1 should support phase 2
Philip said plan is to hire 12 full-time employees in the initial phase then bring on another eight to 10 employees.
The brothers said the field is new to them. Jeremy, whose background is in project management and development, said he attended school in Colorado in the 1990s so was able to gain some perspective on growing. He said they do plan to bring in professionals to help in the growing process. 
There is still a ways to go and the PEDA board only voted to support the project and authorize the program director to sign the option to purchase agreement once everything is finalized. 
"They voted to support the concept and to accept Berkshire Kind as the future owner of that property," PEDA Chairman Maurice Callahan Jr said. "The rest is semantics and the paper trail in between today and actually signing  it." 
The vote came with a non-refundable $10,000 option fee that allows the brothers to secure the site. Callahan said a site needs to be secured if Berkshire Kind wants to continue with the permitting process and that there is a cost for taking the property off the market.  
Philip said they are professionals and hope to take away some of the stigma associated with marijuana cultivation. He added that the companies name reflects two meanings. 
"We are in the Berkshires so we want to have that be part of what our company represents and kind is a term that has been historically used for high quality cannabis," he said. "And we want to be a kind company. We want to think about our community, our environment, and our customers." 
The Silvermans plan to be fully operational by this time next year.

Tags: marijuana,   PEDA,   

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Letter: Problematic Proposed Lenox Short-Term Rental Bylaw

Letter to the Editor

To the Editor:

Under the proposed short-term rental Lenox bylaw, "up to two bedrooms in a dwelling unit may be rented year-round by right provided that the owner or tenant is occupying the dwelling unit at the time of the rental."

Presumably, bedrooms may not be rented at all if the owner or tenant is not occupying the dwelling unit.

In other words, literally, the very same use is allowed by one type of owner (an owner occupying the dwelling unit), but not another type of owner (one who does not occupy the dwelling unit where bedrooms are being rented). Because there is identical use and intensity and the only thing that differs is the type of owner or renter; it is hard to view this as mere regulation of use and not ownership.

The other provision suffers from the same problem. Suppose there is a duplex or land with two houses on it (perhaps an old robber-baron estate) but with separate owners for each dwelling unit. Under the rule regarding "dwelling units being rented in their entirety," "an entire dwelling unit maybe rented up to 75 days per calendar year by right," and "an entire dwelling unit may be rented for an additional 35 days (up to 110 days) per calendar year by Special Permit."

But then suppose there is unity of ownership and one person owns the entire duplex or both houses. In that case, "the above totals apply to the entire parcel" and "the day limits defined above shall be apportioned among those dwelling units."

A town can regulate the number of days a short-term rental may be utilized under the newly passed statute: but this additional restriction based on who owns the premises is a regulation of ownership and not use.

The same is instinct through other parts as well. Of course, Lenox residents or their guest can park in the street. But if you are renting a short-term rental, "All overnight parking must be within the property's driveway or garage." If you own or rent property, so long as you get the right permits, you may entertain on your property. But if you are a short-term renter, "events that include tents or amplified music or which would customarily require a license or permit are not allowed."

Since 1905, when Home Rules was put into the [Massachusetts] Constitution, towns could pass their own bylaws, so long as there was no regulation of a civil relationship unless it was an incident to a legitimate municipal power. This meant, among other things, zoning laws had to regulate use and not ownership. It is now a fundamental principle of Massachusetts zoning that it deals basically with the use, without regard to the ownership of the property involved, or who may be the operator of the use. This bylaw appears to violate this fundamental tenet.

By way of example of the you-may-regulate-use-but-not-ownership rule, it has been held that a city did not have authority under the Massachusetts Constitution to pass an ordinance that affected the civil relationship between tenants and their landlord, who wished to convert their rental units to condominiums. In another case, a municipal ordinance which restricted a landlord's ability to terminate a lease and remove his property from the rental market in order to sell it was invalid.

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