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Berkshire Roots was approved for a two-story cultivation facility at the former Ken's Bowl.

ZBA Approves Permit for Berkshire Root Cultivation Facility

By Brittany PolitoiBerkshires Staff
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Berkshire Roots is one step closer to adding a third site to its Pittsfield operations.

The Zoning Board of Appeals last Wednesday approved a special permit from KO Resources LLC to allow the construction of a two-story, 100,000 square foot marijuana cultivation facility at the former site of Ken's Bowl with conditions on the approval adopted from the recommendations of a third-party review.

These conditions are designed to improve the facility's odor mitigation systems and were recommended after a review of the application by Odor Science and Engineering, Inc., (OS&E) of Bloomfield, Conn.  

"It seems to me, at least in my eyes, that we have a state of the art odor mitigation plan," board member Thomas Goggins said. "I think this is the best solution for what has been perceived to be a problem with odor from marijuana production facilities."

In September, the board had continued this application approval to allow for the third-party review, as there had been public feedback from Ward 2 complaining of an odor emitting from the site.

In an extensive, 25-page review, OS&E analyzed the facility's existing odor mitigation systems and made recommendations to ensure the facility is as airtight as possible, preventing the leakage of odorous air into the surrounding residential area.

Senior Engineer for Sage Engineering Bryan Balicki explained that five major changes were made to the site's odor management plan based on this review.

He said the largest change was the replacement of the original thin bed carbon filter array with a deep bed carbon filtration unit. OS&E specified that two of these units are required. These deep bed carbon filter drums are 5 feet tall, have a 5-foot diameter, and are filled with activated carbon. These filters have a much larger volume of filtration medium and can be monitored.

At the recommendation of OS&E, the previously proposed sand filter has been replaced with a deep bed filter system as well.

Cultivation stations are also to have no fresh air brought in and no air exhausted in these spaces. The remainder of space in the building such as common areas, hallways, bathrooms, and break rooms are required to have fresh air so they will be exhausting fresh air out of those spaces to maintain a negative environment in the building, ensuring that there is so seepage of odor in the building.  

All of the air will be exhausted through the exhaust systems and therefore through the filtration systems. OS&E also recommended they install additional exhaust pickups throughout the common space to grab any fugitive odors from the cultivation stations.

Doors that are used frequently in the building will have automatic fast-action sliding doors that leave much less of a window for the door being open and less potential for odors to transfer out. These will be on all public entrances at the facility to help create a true airlock environment.

The last alteration from OS&E's recommendations is to use pedestrian and overhead airlocks so they will be able to make standard operating procedures, alarm systems, or control the doors with computers so that the second set of doors will not open without the first closing. This is to further prevent any fugitive odors from exiting the building.

When first purposed, the board members thought the application had a solid system but recognized that they weren't experts on the topic of odor mitigation and felt the need to consult the experts. After this consultation, they felt confident in approving the special permit.

This cultivation facility will be an addition to Berkshire Root's retail dispensary and cultivation facility at 501A Dalton Ave. and its three-story structure currently in construction at 501B Dalton Ave.

Ward 2 Councilor Kevin Morandi called into the meeting to express his gratitude for the third-party review. He did express concern that trucks from the facility may wander onto Manchester Avenue, the dead-end street behind the former Price Rite.

"I'm certainly hoping that KO Resources will be a real good neighbor and anything I can do to work with them and also with the neighbors," he said. "Because we want to make sure that the neighbors are listened to and their concerns are addressed."

Tags: ZBA,   marijuana,   

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MassWildlife Asks Public Not to Feed 'GE Deer'

By Brittany PolitoiBerkshires Staff

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — If you have ever driven down New York Avenue and seen the deer grazing behind the fencing that encases General Electric's property, it is likely that you have been inclined to feed them.

Though this action is rooted in kindness, it is not healthy for the woodland friends and could be fatal, which is why MassWildlife has put up signs asking that residents do not throw food over the fences.

"Obviously, people see the deer in there and they probably think 'what are they going to eat? They're limited in there they're stuck in there.'  I will say, they're definitely not stuck in there," MassWildlife's wildlife biologist Nathan Buckhout said.

For decades, the deer have found an unlikely sanctuary in the former GE site that includes two landfills, Hill 78 and Building 71. Buckhout explained that they have been there for decades, spawning offspring and becoming completely self-sufficient within the fenced area.

"They're doing just fine," he said. "And they obviously are getting enough food and water, otherwise their population would be limited, they wouldn't be able to produce their offspring so there would be fewer fawns, and eventually they probably would have disappeared — but they haven't."

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