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1620 Labs LLC moving forward with 2 marijuana growing facilities in Athol

  • The former Agway building at 1 Exchange Street in Athol, is under renovation for a marijuana cultivation and processing facility. —Deborrah Porter


Friday, November 09, 2018

By SARAH ROBERTSON

For the Athol Daily News

ATHOL — One company is moving forward with two applications for marijuana cultivation and processing facilities in Athol after the Planning Board approved amendments to the special permit application of 1620 Labs LLC at Tuesday night’s meeting.

The company is looking to renovate an existing building that spans two tax parcels at 503 South Street and 20 Tunnel Street, while renovations are already underway for a growing facility on an adjacent plot of land at 1 Exchange St.

Nobody from the community attended a public hearing Tuesday night, continued from the first public hearing on Oct. 3, for the special permit application. The Planning Board unanimously approved amendments to the 1620 Labs, and now the special permit application will go before the Select Board.

Wayne Elibero, a managing member for 1620 Labs, LLC, said renovations for that project are already underway on the Exchange Street lot, which is home to the former Agway building. A new heating and ventilation system will be installed, windows replaced, and the company plans to eventually replace the roof too.

“Our goal is to start renovating that building as soon as possible,” Elibero said.

The Planning Board unanimously approved the permit application for the South and Tunnel Street project, saying it was almost identical to the first and meets all the standards for security, preserving neighbors’ quality of life, and stimulating positive economic growth.

Having received feedback from the Cannabis Control Commission, 1620 Labs modified their plans to meet stringent security regulations. The facility will be self-contained with no street access, few windows and an entrance only accessible from an interior walkway. Athol Police Lieutenant Ronny Cote sent a letter to the Board approving of the security measures.

Later, Elibero assured the Board the building will not be an eyesore. “It’s not going to look like a fortress or a prison,” he said.

Current renovations to the Exchange Street building are allowed by a provisional permit, as the company waits to secure a state license to grow marijuana. They plan to have the 4,800 square foot facility fully operational by January, and had to apply for two permits because the building spans two tax parcels.

The company expects to have the South and Tunnel streets facility renovated and operational by the third quarter of 2019. The Exchange Street property will likely be fully operational by January, Elibero said.

“That sounds aggressive to me,” said Planning Board member Rick Hayden, while other members of the Board also questioned the hasty deadline.

Elibero said the company was fortunate to have almost no errors in their initial application, which often caused delays for others. A provisional license, which permitted the company to proceed with the initial renovation and construction, expires on Nov. 20.

To ease the financial impact on the town and use of town resources, 1620 Labs will pay $10,000 for costs associated with legal and technical assistance for the town related to the new growing facility, for. The developers will also donate $15,000 to charities, research, community or educational organizations of their choosing.

“It’s nice bringing life back to these old buildings while keeping the character,” Elibero said.

Sarah Robertson can be reached at srobertson@atholdailynews.com.

 

 


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