Marijuana growing operation eyes 20-acre Blair Road parcel in Williamstown

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WILLIAMSTOWN — A new cash crop may soon arrive in town.

A Colorado business owner is proposing to build a marijuana cultivation operation on farmland just off of Green River Road.

According to forms filed with the town, Massflora LLC is seeking approvals to set up the operation on the 20-acre property at 295 Blair Road using existing barns and a 7,000-square-foot greenhouse that would be built on the parcel. There would be an 8-foot fence installed for added security.

The owner of Massflora, Ryan Wimpee of Aurora, Colo., already owns two marijuana cultivation facilities in the state. Wimpee on Monday told The Eagle that he'd like to get the operation underway "as soon as possible."

But the permitting process will likely take at least several weeks. Wimpee still has to get approval from the Williamstown Conservation Commission, which is hosting a public hearing on the topic Thursday night. Then he needs to obtain a special permit from the Zoning Board of Appeals, which meets later this month.

He still has to work out the Host Community Agreement, and once that's complete, he'll start the permitting process with the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission. And the greenhouse still needs to be built, as does the fencing and conversion of the other buildings on the property after the property sale is finalized.

The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection evaluated the site for wetland issues and didn't find anything that would violate state policy, according to a letter from the department to the town.

Wimpee told The Eagle that once the operation is underway he would have eight to 10 employees. He also noted that ventilated air from the indoor growing areas is filtered using a carbon filtration system. He noted that the plants are grown outdoors only during the final month before harvest. Otherwise they are inside the greenhouse area.

At his other facilities in Colorado, Wimpee added, he hasn't had any complaints about odor.

The land is zoned RR2, in which agricultural uses are permitted.

Wimpee said he is determined to make the application process as transparent as possible, and hopes to discuss any issues residents might raise.

"We want to make sure we address every concern possible," he said. "We'll be doing everything we can to educate the public on everything we're doing."

They wound up choosing Williamstown because it is "one of the few places that permit an outside [marijuana] grow," Wimpee said.

Scott Stafford can be reached at sstafford@berkshireeagle.com or 413-629-4517.


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