ADAMS, Mass. — The Planning Board approved marijuana cultivators LC Square's site plan for Howland Avenue.
"It is just an improvement on the site, and there really isn't anything changing much," Chairman David Rhinemiller said Monday.
Art Babayan, principal of LC Square, came before the town in 2018
to share his intentions of establishing a marijuana cultivation business at 173 Howland Ave., the former Berkshire Outdoors building.
Although COVID-19 delayed some of the initial plans, Babayan went before the board Monday to get the project moving again.
Jeff Randall of Hill Engineers said site work is really limited, and their aim is to make improvements to the interior and exterior of the building.
"There is limited site work associated with this project. We are moving a few doors," Randall said. "We want to dress it up a little with some plantings and green space."
LC Square plans to have between 30 and 35 employees. During a given shift there will be 12 to 15 employees on site. Randall said they plan to install a 25-space parking lot to accommodate this.
He said they plan to use the existing loading dock and the new use should have no adverse effect on utilities.
Babayan went over some of the security features. He added that traffic should be minimal with scheduled truck deliveries and pickups likely to take place only a few times a month.
He said they plan to sell to mostly Berkshire County retailers.
The building will utilize a mostly closed-air system with only 10 to 15 percent of the air being exhausted. He said possible odor will be mitigated with an advanced filtration system.
"There will be very little air going out," Babayan said.
Babayan said hours of operation would be from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Two-thirds of the employees are anticipated to be full time and he hopes to hire residents.
"Everything we do is focused around Adams," he said.
He said they will reuse soil and plant waste will be ground down and given to local farmers for compost.
In other business, the Planning Board voted to schedule a public hearing to discuss amending the zoning bylaws to allow marijuana cultivation, testing, and manufacturing in the Industrial Park.
"You can see with Art's plans it is in line with manufacturing and very technical akin to other uses in the industrial park," Donna Cesan, with Community Development said.
Cesan said when the town first crafted its marijuana bylaws they were extremely cautious in where they would allow marijuana to be grown and sold. Now that marijuana sales and cultivation have become quite normal in the state, the Board of Selectmen voted to ask the Planning Board to make some reconsiderations, specifically in the Industrial Park where the use seems to fit.
Most recently, the Zoning Board of Appeals made way for a retail and cultivation business to operate out of the former Burke Construction property at the entrance to the park.
Cesan added that the town receives inquires from marijuana-related businesses about vacancies in the park a few times a year.
Some board members had concerns about odor and asked that they have data from surrounding communities to help in their decision-making.
Board members also agreed that retail did not seem to be a good use in the park.
After a public hearing, town meeting ultimately will make this approval.