LEE — The Lee Planning Board backed the site of the town’s second recreational marijuana store, but it has another vote to take before the project gets a final vetting by the Select Board.
Planners on Monday night approved the site plan for Forest Wilde LLC to convert the Cork ‘N Hearth restaurant into a pot shop on Laurel Lake along Route 20 near the Lenox town line. The approval comes with two conditions: The developer must provide town water-use figures during the Select Board’s special permit hearing on the proposal. And it must seek a separate special permit from planners.
The second permit would allow a small addition to the front of the building. The Planning Board hearing tentatively is scheduled for March 22. No date has been set for the Select Board hearing.
If the developer secures all local permits, it can apply for a state license from the Cannabis Control Commission.
Monday’s two-hour meeting addressed several issues, with traffic being the biggest concern of several Lenox residents and the Planning Board.
The restaurant, sandwiched between the Lenox town beach and Lakehouse Inn, remains open for dine-in and takeout dinners Wednesday through Saturday, according to its website.
Concerned residents felt that the developer’s traffic study was incomplete, not taking into consideration summer traffic — especially when large concerts let out from Tanglewood.
Other traffic concerns include drivers trying to make left turns into and out of the site and whether the developer would have enough parking.
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. Planner Gordon Bailey agreed that the traffic impact would be greater than the developer projects.
“The traffic study is underwhelming with its information,” Bailey said.
Forest Wilde representatives said they would agree to have traffic-control measures in place for peak times.
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 says it would need four to six months to convert the eatery into about 2,600 square feet of retail space. The remaining 3,100 square feet mainly would be for manufacturing cannabis products, as well as office space. Once completed, after meeting local building code and state cannabis regulations, the outlet could open by fall.