Action delayed on Host Community Agreement

  • John Telepciak, Planning Board member and Phillipston Selectman. File/Greg Vine

For the Athol Daily News
Published: 6/18/2019 9:55:21 PM

PHILLIPSTON — It was a short meeting for the Phillipston Planning Board Tuesday night. It was decided to delay action on most agenda items given that the board was being joined by new member Dan Sanden and that members Gordon Robertson and Vern Lussier were absent.

One issue discussed briefly was the Host Community Agreement being developed for medical and retail cannabis dispensaries. Town Chief Administrative Officer Kevin Flynn presented Select Board members with a draft agreement at their last meeting, but Planning Board members hope to have some input into the composition of the final version of the document.

Board member John Telepciak, who also sits on the Select Board, said he believes there is at least one weakness in the draft presented by Flynn last week.

“There is a clause in there,” said Telepciak, “that says whatever an applicant does must meet all the requirements of the other boards. I think it should be specific with the Planning Board. Everybody and his uncle asks about traffic and all the things that a site plan review would address. Let’s say more than you just need to meet the board requirements.”

“When or if that happens,” said Board Chair Bernard Malouin, “the Planning Board has to hold a public hearing. When the Planning Board holds its public hearing, that would be the proper venue for the Selectmen to come and provide their input so that we’re on the same page.”

The draft agreement calls on any cannabis business setting up shop to pay a community impact fee to the town. The fee would equal three percent of the gross revenue generated by the business and would be paid quarterly. The retailer would also be required to contribute no less than $10,000 to a local non-profit organization which would facilitate a marijuana education and prevention program “to promote safe, legal, and responsible use.” The agreement further addresses hiring practices — giving preference to local job applicants — security, and payment of a municipal sales tax.

Planning Board members said they’d like to review host agreements signed by area communities in order to weigh what might or might not work for Phillipston.

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