Selectmen Grant 12-month Extension for Fourth Cannabis CompanyDec 31, 2020 03:44PM ● By Theresa Knapp
Constant Poholek, applicant and part-owner of Green River Cannabis Corporation, Inc., speaks at the Hopedale Board of Selectmen’s meeting
The Hopedale Board of Selectmen has granted a one-year extension of the current Host Community Agreement for Green River Cannabis Company, Inc. which has proposed an adult cannabis retail store at 54 Mellen Street, Unit A. The item was placed on the agenda after the Zoning Board of Appeals denied the company’s application for a Special Permit earlier this month.
After the ZBA denial on Dec. 9, 2020, applicant and company part-owner Constant Poholek, Jr., an Attleboro lawyer, told Hopedale Local Home Pages, “I was confused and surprised by the Zoning Board of Appeals Decision. We presented our application to the Board according to the Town of Hopedale Bylaws…We were in our legal right to present our application based on the location as permitted in the bylaw.”
At the selectmen’s meeting on Dec. 21, 2020, Poholek asked for an additional year from the date of the original HCA (Feb. 19, 2020) to open the retail store, noting the process will be delayed if they file an appeal plus the process has been slowed due to COVID-19.
Selectmen agreed to grant a 12-month extension from the date of the meeting. The company now has until December 2021 to make the business operational at the original proposed address or to have a different location approved by the ZBA and amend the address in host community agreement.
Poholek told selectmen the company is considering an appeal on the Mellen Street application while, at the same time, researching an alternate site at 54 Hopedale Street, Unit 103, behind the Bancroft Memorial Library. He said the alternate site would be an ideal location because it is in a medical office building with a large parking lot, and they could consider tailoring the business to medical marijuana in the future.
Seeking an alternative site while proceeding with an appeal is not unusual, said town counsel Brian K. Riley of KP LAW of Boston who attended the selectmen’s meeting. It was noted the Commonwealth’s Cannabis Control Commission does require a valid HCA to be in effect while an applicant seeks a license.
If the application is returned to the local ZBA, Green River Cannabis will have to address the issues raised in the denial including traffic, parking and the points in between the stop sign and the proposed operation.
“Issues of traffic and parking are always a concern but can be resolved by working with the Town and the neighbors. We proposed flashing stop signs at the corner of [Route] 140 and Mellen Street along with off-duty police detail and an auxiliary parking lot, if necessary,” Poholek told Hopedale Local Town Pages after the ZBA meeting. He also said the applicant had agreed to require pre-order appointments for the first two years of the Special Permit, and to reevaluate after that time. “The pre-order sales arrangement would have worked smoothly and was backed up by actual customer count based on the number of sales that were determined per hour by reservation only.”
If the adult retail shop is changed to the proposed Hopedale Street location, Green River Cannabis might face opposition there as well. “I want it in the minutes that I am not in favor of 54 Hopedale Street,” said selectman Lou Arcadi, noting its proximity to the library and schools.
While seeking an alternate site, selectmen urged the company to consider the locations of the other three cannabis companies which have valid Host Community Agreements, all signed in 2019:
MACA Industries’ cultivation facility, 2 Condon Way
High Hopes retail shop, 4 Charlesview Road
Lifted Genetics cultivation facility, 6 Condon Way
“I welcome you to town. I want to partnership with you...but it has to be done prudently and in the right place and at the right time,” said selectman Brian Keyes.