Orange Planning Board OKs special permit for marijuana cultivation facility

  • The entrance to 158 Governor Dukakis Drive in Orange, where Power Fund Partners plans to operate a marijuana cultivation facility. The building used to house the Quabbin Inc. plastics-molding facility. Staff Photo/Paul Franz

  • Power Fund Partners plans to operate a marijuana cultivation facility at 158 Governor Dukakis Drive in Orange, pictured. The building used to house the Quabbin Inc. plastics-molding facility. Staff Photo/Paul Franz

Staff Writer
Published: 10/14/2021 3:59:22 PM
Modified: 10/14/2021 5:48:32 PM

ORANGE — The Planning Board voted unanimously this week to issue a special permit to Power Fund Partners to operate a marijuana cultivation facility at 158 Governor Dukakis Drive, starting a one-month appeals period.

Power Fund Partners, based in Dorchester, owns the former Quabbin Inc. plastics-molding facility and representatives addressed the Planning Board Tuesday via Zoom to detail their application. Attorney Ryan Conner explained the intent is to build out 20,000 square feet of canopy and then an additional 40,000 square feet in 2022 and 2023.

According to its website, Quabbin Inc. joined forces with Amherst Tool, combining the former’s manufacturing experience and product knowledge and the latter’s machining knowledge and skilled workforce. The company is now located in a 40,000-square-foot facility in Wilton, N.H.

Power Fund Partners is a cannabis venture founded in 2020 by Boston-based entrepreneur Sean Power, who reportedly has founded and built several successful health care organizations. Power and his partners have developed more than 200,000 square feet of cannabis cultivation throughout the United States.

Conner explained the facility at 158 Governor Dukakis Drive is in Orange’s Manufacturing Zone and is perfectly suited for state-of-the-art marijuana cultivation. He said no changes are needed to the building’s footprint, superstructure, parking or utilities, and the solar panels on the roof provide clean energy.

“Our intention is to be good neighbors,” he said, adding that the company is open to signs and screenings.

Conner said the company’s operations consist of “buildings inside buildings” to keep air in and mold and pathogens out. He mentioned the building will have state-of-the-art security appropriate “for such a high-value commodity.” He said local residents will have hiring priority for the ensuing 200 to 275 jobs, and Orange will see increased tax revenue, a community impact fee of 3 percent of total sales, as well as an annual $5,000 donation to a local nonprofit.

The delivery schedule, consisting of sprinter vans three to five times a day, will be limited to regular business hours. The proposed hours of operation are 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., every day. Conner said there are 142 parking spaces, exceeding Power Fund Partners’ need, and 48 new spaces will be striped on the pavement of an unused loading area. No new paved area will be created, he said.

Conner explained 3,800 gallons of water will be used daily to irrigate the plants. All used water will be captured and reused. Conner said the site — which is more than 500 feet from the nearest residence — has a functioning stormwater system and the company will have a maintenance contract for it. He said the facility has three septic systems that have been inspected by Petersham Sanitary Service and are operational. The systems are designed for 375 people.

George Jones, of Seaman Paper Co., which operates a facility nearby, spoke up during the meeting’s public comment portion to say his only concern was odor control, but said Power Fund Partners “seem to have a plan for it.” Conner had said filtration will be used to ensure odors never escape the building.

“And as long as they live up to that plan, that should be great,” Jones said.

Planning Board member Todd Soucy commended Power Fund Partners and said the plan was one of the most comprehensive he had seen in a long time.

With the Planning Board’s approval, Conner mentioned the town now has a month-long appeal period that will be followed by permitting and a month of review time.

Reach Domenic Poli at: dpoli@recorder.com or
413-772-0261, ext. 262.


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