HANSON — Selectmen on Tuesday, Oct. 15 voted 5-0 to approve Impressed LLC’s 55-page license application, with supporting documentation, to open a marijuana grow facility at 15 Commercial Way.
The business has submitted its application for approval to the Cannabis Control Commission (CCC) and is now in the queue for state review. But once an engineering plan is complete, they can come back to the town at any time to apply for a special permit, which is necessary for the CCC to issue its approval of a provisional license.
That license is required before Impressed LLC can begin renovations on the building, but the company has already begun cleaning out the building in preparation for that.
The vote came after a 14-minute hearing, during which Impressed LLC co-managers Alli and Ralph Greenberg indicated the waiting list for a ruling by the CCC is about eight months, and that it could be up to two years before they are up and running.
“I guess that was going to be my question,” said Selectman Jim Hickey. “You guys knew going into this. … We’ve already been talking to you guys, it seems like forever, but it’s been about six months anyway, so by the time the whole thing comes all the way to the end, it is pretty close to three years.”
Town Counsel Katherine Feodoroff said that to some extent the business is fortunate to own the property.
“As soon as you mention marijuana, apparently, the rents go up by four times the amount of the going rate [in many communities],” she said. “It’s proving to be a difficult process.”
Feodoroff said the license, akin to a liquor license, is renewable annually and is based on rules and regulations adopted two or three months ago.
“This is distinct and apart from the special permit, which would have to be applied for by Impressed — more of a land use kind of approval,” said Feodoroff, indicating that engineering plans for odor control and other physical components of the building, including security, water demands and waste remediation, would be discussed at that time. “This is more of an opportunity to talk about the business.”
Selectmen Chairman Laura FitzGerald-Kemmett sought confirmation, which Feodoroff provided, that business owner Shahram E. Moghaddam, a dentist who lives in Dover, purchased the property at 15 Commercial Way and is leasing it to the Greenbergs.
“That was a good question,” said Selectman Wes Blauss. “Am I clear on who owns, who’s leasing, who’s the sub-landlord. As I read through it, I thought I had it.”
Interim Town Administrator Meredith Marini said the application was well put-together with accompanying exhibits following the related portion they were intended to support.
“We’re happy to be here and are receptive to answering any questions you have for us,” Ralph Greenberg said.
FitzGerald-Kemmett indicated that environmental impact and odor control would likely be the main concern of residents.
“This plan is what we’re committing to,” Alli Greenberg said.
Feodoroff said the license is more of a prophylactic measure, to require a compliance meeting if any problems occur.
“The special permit process is really where you drill down and dig into the technical aspects, but it’s just so much more difficult to bring someone in on a compliance issue if it’s based on a condition of a special permit,” she said.
Marini asked where the process goes after the board signs off on the license application.
“It doesn’t go anywhere,” Feodoroff said. “This is a creature purely of local creation. Unlike an ABCC, which has a statutory authority to issue licenses, this is something we created through our bylaws and does not exist in 94G.”
She said that, in her mind, Hanson is more protective of its residents than many other communities across the state.
“I shouldn’t say that — you’re fine, other communities,” Feodoroff said with a laugh.
In other business, Selectmen asked Marini and Assessor Lee Gamache to outline possible solutions to an easement issue passed over at the Monday, Oct. 14 Town Meeting.
An 30-foot septic system easement had been sought for a septic system installed and owned at 51 Ocean Ave., by a homeowner across the street at 62 Ocean Ave.
The Board of Health had allowed the two septic systems with the caveat that the owner issued himself an easement for 62 Ocean Ave., in 2004, and for 51 Ocean Ave., in 2007.
“We’ve got the town owning one of these lots right now [No. 62],” FitzGerald-Kemmett.
The small lots have been merged for tax purposes, and Gamache said a lot of people are interested in 62 Ocean Ave., for parking space. She added that it is not unusual for a house to appear on such small lots after a sale.
Marini suggested separating the lots.
The board has asked Foedoroff to consider the issue and find the best way to solve the issue while protecting the septic system’s owner and the town.