Clarksburg Planners Continue Cannabis Dispensary Hearing

By Brian RhodesiBerkshires Staff
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CLARKSBURG, Mass. — The Planning Board has approved continued a hearing on a special permit submitted by New England Regional Dispensaries (NERD) to operate a cannabis dispensary on Cross Road. 


The board granted the special permit did not have a quorum at its meeting on Wednesday because one member was absent and another abstained.


The board will meet Wednesday, Dec. 14, at noon at the Community Center.


However, Chad Cellana, the founder of NERD, said if all goes well, he expects to be ready for operation in March. 


"We've already signed the local host community agreement and have been provisionally licensed with the state, pending the special permit and a commission inspection," he said. 


Board Chair Karin Robert said she was concerned about potential parking issues. Robert also asked if NERD got permission to operate on Sunday, which Cellana said was something he would consider and look into in the future.


"The [police] chief addressed [parking concerns] in his letter, saying if traffic becomes an issue, we can make it a right turn only out of that driveway or put up some mirrors and or get a detail," he said. 


Cellana said the state Department of Environmental Protection and the Conservation Commission have already approved site plans for an accompanying cultivation facility. He explained, however, it is unlikely that part of the operation will be ready for next year. 


"So once the funding shows up, we can get that rolling. It's a 2024 project at this point," Cellana said. 


The greenhouse would be on property owned by John Cellana, Chad's business partner and uncle, and board member Erin Scott, who recused herself from the vote to approve the permit. Scott's father, Clebe Scott, is the chair of the Conservation Commission. 


In other business, the board approved a land subdivision submitted by BEK Associates on behalf of Mary and Gus Giron. The board had planned to review the town's subdivision bylaws but waited as board member Ron Boucher could not attend the meeting. 


Update on Dec. 8: the board apparently could not approve the permit on Wednesday and has scheduled another meeting. 

Tags: cannabis,   Planning Board,   

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Adams COA, Town Seek Funds for Memorial Building Bathrooms

By Brian RhodesiBerkshires Staff

ADAMS, Mass. — The Council on Aging is still waiting to transition its programming from the Visitor Center to the Memorial Building and is looking to the Community Development Department for help. 

The COA has been waiting for additional bathroom facilities to be completed for the facility, but the council and the town have so far been unable to obtain grant or other funding for the work.


COA Director Sarah Fontaine said they are working with Community Development to find funds for the bathrooms and other small improvements, including increased entrance accessibility, renovations to the former music room and fixed windows. 


"I had voiced my concern. It's a very extensive list, I don't expect that it will all be done before we transition over. The only need is the bathrooms," Fontaine said. 


At last week's Board of Selectmen meeting, Community Development Director Eammon Coughlin said he looked into using Community Development Block Grant funds for the project. He said, however, that the Memorial Building is ineligible.


"The guidance we received from [the state Department of Housing and Community Development] has basically told us that the building is ineligible for funding because we already received funding in 2018," he said. "There has to be five years between the application for senior-center type projects. So based on that guidance, I don't believe Memorial School is eligible for funding."  


Fontaine also mentioned the auditorium in the building, which the town plans to renovate separately as a future capital project. 


"It would be nice as a senior center to have the auditorium available for guest lectures and other things like that," she said. 


Moving staff to the Memorial Building now while keeping programming at the Visitor Center, Fontaine said, is not an option. She noted that the Hoosac Valley Regional School District had previously expressed interest in using the second floor of the Visitor Center for its office space. 


"I was very firm in saying, logistically, it's hard for us to manage things just being upstairs. It's going to be very difficult if we're off site to try and manage programs downstairs," she said. 


In other business: 


  • The Council on Aging is looking for volunteers to fill vacancies on its advisory board. It filled one of the vacancies on Wednesday, appointing Barbara Ziemba. Ziemba, an active participant in the COA, had already filled out the paperwork needed for her appointment. 


"I have attended many COA activities, volunteer, and am a member of the Friends of the Council on Aging and attend meetings. I have been interested in being a member of the Board of Directors for some time. Please consider my appointment to the board," Ziemba wrote, explaining in her paperwork why she was interested in the position.           


The group also discussed two other vacancies on the board and potential candidates to fill them. Two members have been unable to attend recent meetings for health reasons. 


  • The board voted to approve updated bylaws. The bylaws were revised and written primarily by Board Member Elizabeth Mach. 


"I just wanted to make a comment, or rather an appreciation, for Liz for taking this project on," Fontaine said. 


The new bylaws have a provision to allow honorary members. Fontaine said there are currently no honorary members. 


The board appointed Bruce Shepley as the board's chair to replace Barbara Lagowski, who filled one of the now vacant member seats. 

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