LEE — The town’s proposed second retail recreational marijuana store has cleared another local regulatory hurdle, but the developer has some homework to do before seeking final approval from the Select Board.
The Planning Board on Monday unanimously granted a special permit to Forest Wilde LLC for a 380-square-foot addition on the front of the building. Peter D’Agostino, the project consultant for the developer, says the space would be used to store cannabis products and the business’ vault.
The permit was necessary because the existing structure, the Cork ‘N Hearth restaurant, predates town zoning, making it nonconforming. The planners determined that the addition didn’t worsen the situation.
“Of the whole size of the building [4,550 square feet], this is a small portion,” acting Chairman Buck Donovan said.
LEE — The developer for the town’s proposed second retail recreational marijuana store likel…
Forest Wilde’s next step is securing a special permit for the entire project from the Select Board. A public hearing date has yet to be set.
The developer plans to buy the restaurant and convert the entire property into a complex for manufacturing marijuana products and selling them on-site. Once Forest Wilde secures all municipal approvals, it would seek a license from the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission.
Last month, the Planning Board approved the site plan for the entire project, but it still has unresolved issues about its potential impact on neighbors. The board urged those residents with concerns about the proposal to voice them before the Select Board during its public hearing, which likely will be virtual and which could happen near the end of May.
As a condition of the Planning Board special permit, the five-person panel called on the developer to address several issues, most importantly drainage and traffic. The board also requested that Forest Wilde engineers issue a letter stating their claim, in writing, that the water runoff from the property wouldn’t adversely affect its closest neighbor, the Lakehouse Inn along Laurel Lake.
At Monday’s hearing, inn representative Bill Barry felt that the addition “is going to impact our property.”
He believes that the project would drain more water onto the Lakehouse property. Also, the closeness of the inn’s parking lot would end up drawing store customers, Barry said.
“We will have a major problem with parking and people coming in [our parking lot],” he said.
D’Agostino countered with a measure to prevent the unwanted off-site parking.
“We are going to have really good signage showing people where the entrance is,” he said.
The main entrance to the store would be at the upper level from the parking area, where nearly all of the 46 parking spaces are located. Forest Wilde representatives said they would agree to have traffic-control measures in place for peak times.
Barry also worried about the potential for increased traffic with trucks making deliveries to the front of the building.
D’Agostino indicated that there would be less traffic in the loading/unloading area than there is now.
“It would be unusual to have a delivery every day. They would be sporadic,” he said.
Two Connecticut residents, Cassandra Purdy, of Roxbury, and Jason Song, of Monroe, and Jeanne Carmichael, of Lee, are listed as the principals of Forest Wilde.
The marijuana entrepreneurs would join Canna Provisions on Housatonic Street, near the Massachusetts Turnpike exit.
They would be the only two pot shops in Lee, the maximum number allowed by the town.
Forest Wilde said it would need four to six months to convert the eatery into about half for retail space, and half mostly would be for manufacturing cannabis products, as well as office space.
Once completed, after meeting local building code and state cannabis regulations, the shop could open by the end of the year, Forest Wilde said.