Planning board has cannabis questions, few answers

  • Members of the Phillipston Planning Board Monday night discussed a retail marijuana operation reportedly planned for a parcel of property at the intersection of Route 2A and Baldwin Hill Road. From left, board member John Telepciak, Chairman Bernard Malouin, and members Dan Sanden, Verne Lussier, and Gordon Robertson. GREG VINE

  • Royalston’s Damon Schmidt awaits the vote on a proposal to amend the town’s cannabis cultivation zoning bylaw at the August Special Town Meeting. The article which called for changing town zoning bylaws to allow for marijuana cultivation/manufacturing operations from 10,000 square feet, up to 100,000 square feet, was defeated. -Greg Vine

For the Athol Daily News
Published: 8/20/2019 9:50:18 PM
Modified: 8/20/2019 9:50:10 PM

PHILLIPSTON — The man who is proposing to establish a retail cannabis business at the corner of Route 2A and Baldwin Hill Road was supposed to make a visit to Monday night’s meeting of the Planning Board. Damon Schmidt, however, failed to show, leaving the board with plenty of questions but few – if any – answers. Board member John Telepciak, who also serves on the town’s selectboard, noted that Schmidt also was a no-show at a recent meeting of that panel, where he had been scheduled to appear.

“The guy who was supposed to be here at 7 o’clock,” said board Chair Bernard Malouin, “emailed me and told me that he had some other commitments, that he couldn’t make it tonight. I told him once before, don’t come bug us until you’re ready. He just wants to come and talk.”

Asked if Schmidt had yet applied for a special permit from the board, Malouin replied, “He hasn’t applied for anything.”

“He just started working on a Host Community Agreement with the selectmen,” Malouin continued. “He’s jumping all over the place.”

Telepciak agreed.

“He sent an email, and a whole bunch of verbiage in there,” said Telepciak, “saying how it would be detrimental to the town if we didn’t allow him to provide home delivery. He said if somebody wants home delivery, and we won’t provide it in Phillipston, he’ll go to Gardner and Gardner will get the three percent sales tax.”

Malouin then read from Schmidt’s email to him, quoting: “We still are a few weeks away, at best, from the HCA (host community agreement) signed with Phillipston. So, then the 12-month clock starts until the state approves. So, fall of 2020 is when the building would need to be up by.”

“I don’t know where these guys come from,” he continued. “I’m not sure of their mind-set, but maybe they’re going to make a bundle of money and I’ll be saying, ‘Wow, look what they did.’”

Malouin said he’s also unsure about the Route 2A-Baldwin Hill location.

“I don’t think (Schmidt) has bought the property,” said Malouin. “You have to have a place you have to have an agreement.”

At a selectboard meeting several months ago, Schmidt circulated a letter stating a purchase and sale agreement had been signed for the parcel.

“A purchase and sale agreement is not a purchase,” said Malouin. “It’s part of the way, but there’s nothing he can do with (the property) now. There are still a lot of questions. Can you put a well on the property? If you can’t put a well on it you can’t get a building permit. I’m not saying he can’t, but that’s just another question that hasn’t been answered.”

“Here he is talking about home delivery, and we haven’t even got the specifics of the host agreement,” added Telepciak.

“We and the selectmen probably should be talking to each other about this,” Malouin said. “We should have a meeting to make sure we’re all on the same page.”

Asked if he would reach out to Schmidt to invite him to the next Planning Board meeting, Malouin answered in the negative.

“That’s not our responsibility,” he said. “If he wants to talk to us, he can contact us.”

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