<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=915327909015523&amp;ev=PageView&amp;noscript=1" target="_blank"> Skip to main content
You are the owner of this article.
You have permission to edit this article.

Hinsdale venture prepares to transform defunct mink farm into indoor cannabis grow

172 Peru Road aerial.jpg

Sunlight Farms LLC proposes to create an indoor cannabis farm at this location at 172 Peru Road in Hinsdale.  

HINSDALE — A joint venture involving Silver Therapeutics, a cannabis business with operations in Williamstown and Orange, is close to filing an application to grow in a Hinsdale neighborhood.

Near the end of 2021, Sunlight Farms LLC sent a $15,000 check to the town, as required under the host community agreement it reached with Hinsdale last year. The money is a required deposit to cover consulting expenses the town incurs when evaluating the company’s proposal to build an indoor marijuana farm at 172 Peru Road.

The town’s agreement with Sunlight Farms LLC was signed by Joshua Silver, who listed his place of business as 238 Main St. in Williamstown, home to the retail store Silver Therapeutics.

“Mr. Silver is putting it forward,” said Bob Graves, the Hinsdale town administrator.

Silver said Tuesday engineers are still at work on detailed drawings of the project that will be submitted — and soon, he hopes. “Everything seems like it takes much longer these days,” he said. “When we met with the Select Board, we had [only] conceptual drawings.”

In December 2020, Silver proposed to prepare a roughly 6,000-square-foot greenhouse at 172 Peru Road, home to a former mink farm. He said at the time he planned to use an existing structure on the property and to make use of solar power available on the site.

Silver Therapeutics officials (copy)

Joshua Silver, right, joined with colleagues in 2019 to mark the opening of their retail outlet in Williamstown. From left, Brendan McKee, chief financial officer; Joshua Ferranto, chief operating officer; and Silver. A new joint venture between Silver Therapeutics and a Hinsdale property owner is proposing an indoor cannabis cultivation project at 172 Peru Road in Hinsdale.

That remains the plan, he said this week. An existing two-story warehouse with roughly 3,000 square feet of space would be repurposed for the greenhouse. The building is located to the rear of a house on the site and had formerly been used as part of the mink farm.

The project is a joint venture between Silver Therapeutics and property owner Michael A. Viner, who developed a solar field on the parcel that the greenhouse anticipates using as a power source.

“It’s got the potential to have very low impacts,” Silver said, because of its use of solar energy.

The host community agreement the town reached with Sunlight Farms calls for a Tier II farm under Cannabis Control Commission rules, which would allow the company to build 6,800 square feet of indoor cultivation space, along with another 2,400 square feet of processing and storage space.

Silver said the venture expects to submit its application for the Hinsdale farm to the commission this month. No retail sales would be conducted at the property. All cannabis products would be sold through Silver Therapeutics outlets or on the wholesale market.

The property is owned by Global Construction Services LLC, whose principal is Viner of Hinsdale. Records on file with the Secretary of State’s Office list Silver and Viner as co-managers of Sunlight Farms.

Graves said the town expects to receive a special permit application for the farm that will be reviewed by the Planning Board. Silver said he did not know when the application would be filed, but said he hoped it would be submitted in the first quarter of the year.

Land records show that Viner bought the 172 Peru Road property for $250,000 in July 2017 from the Earl Carmel Trust.

If the project receives town approvals, it will pay Hinsdale 3 percent of its gross sales, in quarterly payments, according to the host community agreement. That pact would be up for renegotiation in five years; if parties cannot agree then on changes, it would remain in effect.

The business also pledges to donate $2,500 a year for five years as a “community benefit,” and make a $2,500 yearly donation to a local charity, for the life of the host community agreement.

The document required Sunlight Farms to make the $15,000 deposit with the town in advance of possible expenses incurred by Hinsdale as it reviews the cannabis project application.

Outdoor cultivation is banned, unless agreed to by the Select Board.

Other provisions of the agreement call for the company to consult with local police officials on the property’s security system and policies and to make its best efforts to do business with local vendors and to hire locally.

The agreement also says that if five or more “reasonable complaints” are filed over odors from the farm, the Select Board can call the parties to a meeting to discuss that issue.

This isn’t the first time a cannabis venture has been pitched for the neighborhood, near Ashmere Lake in the northeast section of Hinsdale. Before it encountered and eventually bowed to neighborhood opposition, FFD Enterprises MA proposed an outdoor cannabis farm at 246 Peru Road.

That company opted to shift its location to 120 Bullards Crossing Road, where it brought in its first harvest in 2021.

Larry Parnass can be reached at lparnass@berkshireeagle.com and 413-588-8341.

Managing editor for innovation

Larry Parnass joined The Eagle in 2016 from the Daily Hampshire Gazette, where he was editor in chief. His freelance work has appeared in the Washington Post, Boston Globe, Hartford Courant, CommonWealth Magazine and with the Reuters news service.

Sign-up for The Berkshire Eagle's free newsletters

Get up-to-the-minute news sent straight to your device.