LEE — The developer for the town’s proposed second retail recreational marijuana store likely will get more time to seek a special permit to operate near the Lenox town line.
Forest Wilde LLC will submit a request to the Select Board for an extension, asking the three-member panel to hold the hearing, possibly in two months. The reason? The developer isn’t done getting approvals from the Lee Planning Board.
The Select Board was expected to take up the permit request by the end of March. Now, it could be near the end of May. Select Board Chairman David Consolati said at Tuesday’s regular board meeting that he is willing to grant the extension. The other two board members support the extension. The board granted Consolati permission to sign the request once the board receives it.
Forest Wilde must seek a separate special permit from the Planning Board as a condition of the planners approving the project site plan Feb. 22. The permit is for building a small addition onto the front of the Cork ‘N Hearth restaurant on Route 20, on the shore of Laurel Lake.
The Planning Board hearing is March 22. 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 can seek a license from the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission.
Consolati took the opportunity Tuesday to join others in criticizing the developer’s traffic study, which projects a minimal impact.
Concerned town planners and Lenox residents, mainly from nearby Bramble Lane, said at the Planning Board’s Feb. 22 meeting that the developer’s traffic study was incomplete. They claimed it didn’t take 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.
Consolati on Tuesday indicated that a turning lane would be needed in front of the Cork ‘N Hearth. The section of road is winding and narrow.
“I’m not too thrilled with the roadway and I’m not thrilled with the [current turning situation],” he said.
The project consultant for Forest Wilde, Peter D’Agostino, says that because Route 20 is a state highway, Massachusetts Department of Transportation approval is needed for lane additions.
“There is a certain [threshold] we would have to meet for the state to consider a turning lane,” 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.
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 would be mostly 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.