PITTSFIELD -- The Zoning Board on Wednesday granted a special permit to Total Health and Wellness Inc., a proposed medical marijuana dispensary on Dalton Avenue.
Contrary to expectations, no opposing voices from the neighborhood showed. Instead, a few people protested a Marlboro Drive resident’s request to keep chickens on her property.
"Amazing people come out for chickens but not for marijuana," joked attorney F. Sydney Smithers, of Cain Hibbard & Myers of Pittsfield, who’s representing the company.
In granting the permit, the board found the proposed use in accord with Pittsfield’s zoning laws and "the established character of the neighborhood" -- a small retail area -- and not "detrimental to the adjacent uses," said Albert A. Ingegni III, chairman of the Pittsfield Zoning Board.
"The city council adopted [a zoning ordinance] in anticipation of and in reaction to the passage of a citizen’s referendum seeking the authorization of medical marijuana," Smithers said. "Unlike some cities which adopted moratoria to prevent the location of medical marijuana facilities until they could complete further planning, the city of Pittsfield’s professional planning staff was ahead of the game on this and able to put together a very thorough zoning ordinance."
Total Health now finds itself a step closer to opening a dispensary inside 531 Dalton Ave. Lawrence Bergman, a real estate representative in the Boston area, is listed as president of the Total Health in the state Corporations Division.
According to the company’s plans, a partition would divide this 6,300-square-foot space into small and large sections -- with growth and cultivation of the plant occurring in the larger and retail in the smaller. SK Design Group, Inc., designed the layout and other intended improvements for the building and property, which the company would lease from owner Paul Lester. Repaving the site’s 14-space parking lot to free up more green space is among these.
"The applicant plans on serving 30 to 50 patients per day, Monday through Saturday between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m.," Ingegni said.
Two or three employees would work there and 24-hour security cameras and an alarm system provide security. The nonprofit expects to work with Medbox Inc. in creating a state-of-the-art electronic dispensing machine.
The company still requires a license to operate a dispensary from the state.
Next week, on Jan. 31, the Department of Public Health is expected to announce which of the 100 applicants remaining for consideration will receive a total of 35 licenses.
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