By K.B. Sherman, Contributing Writer
Grafton – On Nov. 17, after a scheduled public hearing had been concluded, the Grafton Board of Selectmen voted to write a “letter of non-opposition” regarding a proposed marijuana dispensary to be run by Sage Cannabis (formerly known as Milford Medicinals) at 206 Worcester St., (Route 122), the location of a former Cumberland Farms.
Since that time, a number of residents have expressed displeasure over the board’s decision.
At the Grafton Board of Selectmen meeting Feb. 16, the board directed Assistant Town Administrator Doug Willardson to do the following regarding continued opposition by some to the planned marijuana dispensary on Route 122 at Hollywood Drive:
- Describe the local permit process for the Registered Medical Marijuana Dispensary (RMD) facility proposed for 206 Worcester St. (Rt. 122).
- Contact the Massachusetts Department of Public Health regarding sites within 500 feet of the proposed facility that may be considered “places where children congregate.”
- Ask the applicant if he is willing to relocate the proposed business to another site.
- Discuss with the applicant potential parking issues if there are a large number of patients.
- Discuss with the applicant and review potential solutions to mitigate traffic concerns in the area.
Results reported at the March 1 meeting were:
- The business meets zoning regulations and a marijuana clinic operation license is issued by the state, not the town, which is essentially cut out of the loop. A building permit was issued Jan. 11, 2016.
- The applicant provided such a list to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH). DPH responded with a request for further details and stated it will make a decision after this has been approved.
- The applicant said he has already spent a lot of time and money on the siting issue and would not consider relocating.
- The applicant stated that there will be only six to 10 cars in the lot at any one time.
- The previous tenant, Cumberland Farms, generated a lot of traffic. It is believed that the clinic will not generate any more.
Resident James Gallagher, of Hollywood Drive, addressed the selectmen March 1 as he had in February. He began by restating that the applicant’s answers and alleged uncooperative attitude show why he and many other people were angry.
“It looked like a deal of some kind had been struck,” he said. What is clear now, he added, is that this board had no role in the process.
“It wasn’t until the last meeting that I understood how this came about,” he noted. “I know now that this was indeed done properly.”
However, Gallagher maintained that unresolved issues have not been addressed, such as establishing the required buffer area for children and residential neighborhoods, adequate parking, and traffic considerations.
“I still have hope that this location can be changed,” Gallagher said. “The first the neighborhood knew about this was after it had been approved. If you don’t have a concern to first talk to voters, this is what happens.”
Replied Selectman Dennis Flynn: “We didn’t do everything right and we need to do so next time.”