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The former construction company property has been for a sale for some years.

Burke's Construction Eyed for Marijuana Retail, Cultivation

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
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The ZBA votes to support the location of a cannabis production facility at the former Burke's Construction. 
ADAMS, Mass. — The Zoning Board of Appeals granted Ian Purkayastha a variance to operate a  cannabis cultivation facility and retail dispensary at the former Burke's Construction.
 
The variance was so the facility could operate in the Adams Industrial Park zoned area.
 
"In this case, the beautiful parcel of property has been for sale for quite some time, and it has fallen into a situation where it has limited use being in the industrial park," Chairman Brian Tenczar said. "In this case, it has held back the owner to go forward with any different prospects for the property." 
 
Burke's Construction, at 6 Renfrew St., is zoned IP, or Industrial Park. Purkayastha, who has partnered with property owner John Burke, said they would like to use the property for industrial use.
 
"As every other neighboring business is already designated industrial, we think the proposed use is consistent with the intended use and is consistent with the manufacturing history of the site," he said. "We also believe that the business will provide substantial economic good for the town of Adams."
 
He added that it will also bring new jobs and new tax revenue to Adams
 
Burke agreed and said he was not sure why his property was ever included in the rezoning in the 1990s. He said the former shipping depot was built in the late 19th century and since then has been in consistent industrial use.
 
Attorney Dennis Eagan representing SMP Holdings, a neighboring business in the industrial park, said the project did not meet the necessary hardship needed to call for a variance according to state laws and local zoning bylaws.
 
"It fails the test, and there has been no evidence to support the assertion," Egan said. "There is no assertion made by the applicant that anything having to do with the shape, topography, or soil conditions creates a hardship. The argument essentially is they want to be able to conduct a business in a zoning district where it is not allowed."
 
Attorney Joseph Colonna, representing the applicant, said the property has been historically industrial. He reaffirmed that the property is mostly separated from the industrial park and was only recently zoned IP. The rail line runs between the property and the park.
 
As for hardship, he noted Burke has been trying to sell or find a new use of the property for some years now.  
 
"He also has been marketing it for several years without success," he said. "The hardship for him is trying to maintain that property at a very high level and continue to pay all of the services and taxes along with it and not have a use."  
 
Burke said the property has been on the market for about five years and the most recent asking price was $990,000. He said he invested $1.3 million into the property.
 
Town Administrator Jay Green said he has been working with Burke for some time now on finding a use for the property. He said it was offered to the town, which had no use for it. It was also offered to the Berkshire Scenic Railway Museum, which could not make the purchase.
 
He said the proposed use seemed to be a good fit for Burke and the town of Adams.
 
"It is a beautiful parcel in a difficult location ... I can tell you that John has had a hard time, and he has done his due diligence to put it on the market," Green said. "We were quite pleased when he came forward with this ... we are grateful for it."
 
The board agreed that there was no doubt the site has consistently been used industrially.
 
"The history is that it is an industrial site," board member Glen Diehl said.
 
Board member Nat Karnes agreed that the parcel was largely disconnected from the industrial park and was actually separated by train tracks.
 
"This parcel is a little bit different," Karnes said. "It is kind of a squirrely parcel, and I think that ... it is a little bit of an odd duck compared to the other parcels in the zoning district."
 
The board also could not come up with any substantial or negative impacts the business could have in the immediate area.
 
There was some discussion on odor mitigation and parking but the board noted these inquiries were really under the Planning Board's purview.
 
Purkayastha did say the retail operation would take place in the historic building while cultivation would take place in the larger industrial building on the back end of the property. He said there would be an advanced filtration system.
 
The meeting was about two hours long and the only other piece of business the board had on its agenda was a special permit request.
 
The Zoning Board of Appeals awarded Jessie and Justin Kratz a special permit to operate a custom order bakery out of their residential kitchen on Upper Linden Street.
 
There was some concern from one neighbor about increased traffic on the narrow dead-end street, however, the majority of neighbors called in support of the small business noting that they enjoyed the pleasant smells coming from the kitchen.

Tags: ZBA,   cannabis,   marijuana,   

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Public Invited to Pay Respects to Officer Billy Evans in Adams

ADAMS, Mass. — Community members are invited to gather Thursday at 1 p.m. on Park Street to pay their respects to Officer William "Billy" Evans during the funeral procession.
 
"I think it is really important for the family, and for the law enforcement community," Adams Police Chief Scott Kelley said. "We will be out here and we will show our love and respect for our fallen brother. But for the community. ... I think it is important for them too because this is their home, it is his home, and I think it is important for them to come out."
 
The town will close Hoosac Street, Summer Street, and Bellevue Cemetery on Thursday, April 14, to accommodate funeral services for Officer Evans. The procession will move from St. Stanislaus Kostka Church, where a Mass will be held, to Bellevue Cemetery. Evans' father, the late Howard Evans, is buried in Bellevue. 
 
Evans, a member of the U.S. Capitol Police, was killed on Friday, April 2, when a driver slammed his car into a checkpoint he was guarding at the Capitol.
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