Hearing continued on special permit decision for New Marlborough pot facility proposal

NEW MARLBOROUGH — A vote whether to grant a special permit for Oasis Campus LLC to open a medical and recreational cannabis compound was continued after a well-attended select board meeting that lasted more than 2 1/2 hours.

It was standing room only at New Marlborough Town Hall on Monday.

After Peter Puciloski, an attorney for Oasis Campus applicant Joshua Seitz, detailed the proposal, more than a dozen residents shared their concerns including surveillance, light pollution and, most frequently, the amount of water that will be used to water the plants.

"All the water will be recycled through reverse osmosis and used over and over again," Puciloski said, adding that one half gallon of water per plant per day is "the absolute worst" that will be consumed using their system.

On Jan. 29, Seitz submitted his application for a special permit for Oasis Campus at 1270 Hartsville New Marlborough Road.

Oasis will not cultivate or sell its own products, but rather rent out space to individuals who are licensed with the state to grow their own cannabis and make their own products, including edibles and extracts. The only sales being made at the property will be retailers picking up their products, which they will later sell on their own, according to Puciloski.

The application proposed a 30,000-square-foot grow space with offices and a warehouse; a 15,000-square-foot building with commercial and smaller kitchens for the production of edibles; and a 3,000-square-foot testing lab.

Oasis Campus also intends to have four greenhouses, 68 parking spots and 24-hour video surveillance.

Puciloski said that that the greenhouses will be about 14-feet in height and will feature automatic retractable blackout shades that will limit light pollution after sunset.

The parking spaces may be "excessive" for the amount of people who will work at the building, but are required by town bylaw, he said.

All water used in the greenhouses will be absorbed through the HVAC system and the floor drains will be recycled, with some loss due to inefficiency, Puciloski said.

Pressed for an estimate of daily water use, Puciloski said a "rough estimate" is about 100 gallons a day.

"There will be constant security, but to prevent noise it will be an electric golf cart and not any gasoline vehicle," he said. "We don't see any need for them to be armed at this point."

Puciloski said that all of the buildings, except for a security building at the entrance to the property, would be built in a former gravel pit and not be seen from the road.

"First thing to consider is how little there is to consider," said Jesse Belcher-Timme, an attorney hired by four abbutters to the proposed property. "We don't know who is going to be on site."

Because the individuals utilizing Oasis Campus are not the owners themselves, there is no way to know how much water is going to be used or many of the details about their businesses, he said.

"This is not the green house that was anticipated by the bylaws," Belcher-Timme said. "I think security like this is not going to look or feel like this is a greenhouse that someone built to grow magnolias and sell at a garden store."

The attorney also noted the lack of details submitted with the application for a special permit, including a traffic impact statement or a storm water management plan.

Tom Stalker, who lives on Hatchville New Marlborough Road, was the single resident who spoke in defense of the proposal, which he said would be the largest taxpayer in town.

"Our town has been in the trend of placing property in a nontaxable state," Stalker said. "I feel we should be willing to come to the table."

Selectmen continued the hearing on the special permit application for Oasis Campus to April 25 at 6 p.m.

Haven Orecchio-Egresitz can be reached at horecchio@berkshireeagle.com, @HavenEagle on Twitter and 413-770-6977.


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