To the editor: Adrienne Metcalf's recent letter states there are rumors against her plans for a marijuana establishment on her farm but does not elaborate what those rumors are. ("Letter: Setting the record straight on Becket cannabis proposal," Eagle, Nov. 26.)
Ms. Metcalf paints a picture for the reader of a “small” business so that she and her husband can retire while preserving most of their farm. The fact is, the proposed pot farm is a tier 11 — the largest that Massachusetts allows — 100,000-square-foot, 5.6-acre indoor and outdoor grow operation. What Ms. Metcalf reports as being aggressive and hostile is simply opposition — not to a pot farm but to the proximity to the historic Becket quarry, an active education site, and the location in a residential community.
The second homeowners in Becket not only pay property and personal property taxes but should also be protected by the same town rules and bylaws and participate in the town’s processes. After broadband is installed this year, I believe many second home owners will decide to become full-time residents. The objections to the farm from over 100 letters the Planning Board has received are based upon significant research and have reviewed the science related to the plants and odors. It is our research having the town agree to use olfactometers to measure odor. However, the community-host agreement still does not address immediate remediation. What Ms. Metcalf suggests as a “quiet” greenhouse will have generators, industrial exhaust fans and lighting 24/7.
Ms. Metcalf lists only two benefits to the town: If the owners are required to employ a percentage of Becket residents, this will represent only a few employees — hardly an impact to Becket's local employment. Ms. Metcalf says the town will receive 1/6 of its annual budget. Other than real estate taxes, the money will not benefit the taxpayers. It is held by the town to offset any negative results of the pot farm, such as extra policing, damage to the surrounding property, etc. The administrative burden makes it difficult for towns to document their “offset” costs. The town of Lee has chosen not to collect the community impact fee. The opposition is due to having a negative impact on the quality of life and property values on all its neighbors as pot farms have had in neighboring communities.
Laurie Friedman, Becket