PITTSFIELD — The Zoning Board of Appeals has granted Berkshire Roots a special permit needed to make the company’s goal of a “cannabis campus” on Dalton Avenue a reality.
The local approval paves the way for parent company KO Resources to build a two-story, 100,000-square-foot building primarily for cannabis cultivation and manufacturing where Ken’s Bowl now stands.
The company’s plans call for the Ken’s Bowl building to be demolished and a new facility built in its place. Once completed, it will be the company’s third and largest building at what representatives call Berkshire Roots’ “campus” at 501 Dalton Ave.
The owner of Ken’s Bowl is a proponent of the expansion, and he previously told the ZBA his building would otherwise sit abandoned amid the economic toll of the coronavirus pandemic.
At that time, the company had reached a purchase-and-sale agreement for the Ken’s Bowl property, according to City Planner Cornelius Hoss. The sale was contingent on the company receiving project approval.
At the request of the ZBA, which heard complaints from neighbors about odor they said wafted from Berkshire Roots’ facility at 501 Dalton Ave., the company retained O’Reilly Talbot & Okun Associates to review its plans for making sure that won’t happen at the new building.
The firm identified issues with odor control, and Berkshire Roots agreed to implement five of its recommendations, said project engineer Bryan Balicki. They include use of larger carbon-filtration units, and building entryways that have two sets of “fast-acting” sliding doors.
Neighbor Charlene Wehry had been outspoken about concerns regarding odor that she said she could detect coming from the existing dispensary, grow and processing facility at 501 Dalton Ave. She thanked the company and the ZBA, at its Dec. 16 meeting, for listening and responding to those concerns by making changes to the proposal.
The board unanimously approved the special permit, with conditions that the company pay to have odor levels tested periodically. According to co-founder Andrea F. Nuciforo Jr., the new facility at the former Ken’s Bowl will employ about 80 full-time workers.
ZBA member Thomas Goggins showed support for the company’s odor strategy, calling it a “state-of-the-art odor-mitigation plan that will be well-monitored.”
His colleague on the panel, Erin Sullivan, thanked the company for working with them to amend plans in light of the concerns aired by some.
“We still want to be a business-friendly city, but we also need to take care of our residents,” Sullivan said.