City Council public hearing set for March 22
By Vicki Greene, Contributing Writer
Marlborough – Kelly and Steve Tomasello of Winchester are strong believers in holistic medicine and alternative therapies. They’re also no strangers to the real estate development and retail management businesses. Now, the couple have decided to take their combined skillsets to the world of adult recreational retail cannabis.
The Tomasellos are seeking a special permit to build and open Calverde Naturals, an upscale recreational marijuana dispensary at 239 Boston Post Road West on the far end of the Hannaford’s plaza, across from the Apex Center. If approved, the Tomasellos hope to open during the first quarter of 2022.
That, according to City Council President Michael Ossing would mean Calverde would take up the fourth and final available recreational marijuana permit in Marlborough.
Tomasellos bring personal connection, experience, to marijuana business
Steve Tomasello lost his father, a former Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) agent to Stage 4 Lung Cancer, nine years ago. He said his father was dedicated to a fitness regime and he remembers seeing his father’s bottles of vitamins and other remedies on the kitchen counter while growing up in Reading.
Steve said that his father often put off going to the doctor, though, and didn’t take prescription medication or undergo chemotherapy once diagnosed with cancer.
In hindsight, Steve said he believes his father would have used medical marijuana as a natural therapeutic substance if given the chance.
Now, Steve is a partner at Atlantic Retail, a commercial real estate firm.
Kelly has previously managed two Boston-area restaurants with additional years of boutique retail store management.
The Tomasellos are launching this new Calverde effort based on those business and personal experiences.
Currently, they remain in the regulatory process.
<<STORY CONTINUED BELOW PHOTOS>>
State regulation pushes Calverde to build its own storefront
If permitted, Calverde would occupy a newly-constructed 2,800 square ft. building situated across from the front entrance of Marlborough’s Chipotle restaurant.
The Tomasellos recently told the Community Advocate they chose this Marlborough site for its geographic location, visibility on Route 20 and the fact that it was already zoned for retail use.
They’re specifically constructing a new building, though, due to the proximity of the nearby Mountainside Children’s Center. Though the entrance to the Children’s Center is not connected to the same plaza as Calverde would be, state guidance bans dispensaries within 500 feet of daycares or any facilities geared towards children.
Existing open storefronts in the same plaza would not satisfy those restrictions.
Regardless, through these hurdles, Steve said Marlborough officials have been extremely helpful and added that the process has gone smoothly.
As part of that process, Calverde held its required community outreach meeting for abutters within 400-feet of their proposed Route 20 site in August. Calverde has also held an “informal” meeting with the city’s Site Review Committee.
Calverde positions to max out Marlborough marijuana market
If the City Council grants Calverde its permits, it will inadvertently cap local marijuana development for the time being.
The very state law that legalized marijuana in Massachusetts limited the number of available recreational licenses in a given city or town. It did so in much the same way that other laws allocate a finite number of liquor licenses.
With three other facilities already permitted or operational in Marlborough, the city would have no permits left to hand out after Calverde arrives, barring change to state law, Ossing has said.
The City Council will now meet with Calverde for a public hearing at 8pm on March 22.