To the editor: A town trusts its Planning Board to ensure that land decisions are made in the best interest of the town.

Here in Becket, that doesn't appear to be the case. There is a proposed tier 11 marijuana establishment to be sited opposite the Becket Historic Quarry ("Large-scale cannabis project mounts a second try to win special permit in Becket," Eagle, Nov. 8), which has long attracted visitors of all ages, including many families and school groups. During the years it was managed by the Becket Land Trust, educational programming has been a consistent initiative, and in 2020 the quarry hosted more than 14,000 visitors. The quarry is a designated Wildlife and Forest Management Area, which is dedicated to the preservation of not only the forest canopy, but also to endangered animal species, such as the New England cottontail.

It contains a historic quarry museum, miles of family-friendly nature trails and other outdoor recreation areas. It is regularly visited by school groups and is commonly used by young people as an outdoors hiking venue. It is visited by families from the local area as well as from around the world.

Given the number of schoolchildren who regularly visit this unique Becket resource, it is inexplicable why the town would ignore its own zoning ordinances prohibiting any marijuana facility within 500 feet of any "public playground" or "similar facility where organized youth activities occur." See Becket Zoning Bylaws, Section 6.8.3. The 500-foot limitation is measured by reference to the "nearest property lines of each use." The property line of the Becket Historic Quarry is directly opposite on Quarry Road from the Parcel A identified in the application as the site for the marijuana facility. The property line between the proposed facility and the quarry is less than 50 feet.

To most observers, it seems obvious that this application for the largest indoor and outdoor marijuana cultivation facility allowable under Massachusetts regulations should be denied. Its location is incompatible with the local ordinances governing the location of marijuana facilities and it is inconsistent with the character of this nature preserve to site a commercial marijuana facility across the street.

Michele Cohen, Becket