Selectboard talks pot agreement, snow and ice

  • The Phillipston Selectboard at last Wednesday's meeting. For the Athol Daily News/Greg Vine

For the Athol Daily News
Published: 1/16/2020 10:02:43 AM
Modified: 1/16/2020 10:01:54 AM

PHILLIPSTON — The issue of host community agreements between the town and Tempest, Inc. and Royalston Farms came up briefly at last week’s Selectboard meeting. Both companies are represented by Damon Schmidt. Tempest is the name of the retail marijuana establishment Schmidt wants to open in Phillipston, while Royalston Farms is Schmidt’s cultivation business. Both operations would be located at the corner of Baldwin Hill Road and Route 2A. Schmidt also has plans for a retail establishment in Templeton and a grow facility in Royalston.

Phillipston Chief Administrative Officer Kevin Flynn told the board there is disagreement between the town and Schmidt on several issues; among them, the town’s insistence that Tempest makes a $6,000 contribution to fund substance abuse prevention and mental health services for the community, as well as water usage restrictions and limits on the size of the operation.

“He did not like the charitable contribution section, which he has mentioned before,” said Flynn, “so he has removed that. He has inserted an offer to distribute 500 lockboxes for edible marijuana, which he also offered to Templeton. The Templeton proposal says he will ‘distribute 500 lockboxes to Templeton and Phillipston residents.’ In his proposal for us, it says ‘Phillipston and Templeton residents.’ So, basically, he’s looking for a twofer. He’ll distribute 500 to the two towns and he’ll get credit here and he’ll get credit there for the same set of 500 boxes.”

“He’s taken out some of the language — relative to cultivation — about managing water usage. Unlike Templeton, we don’t have a public water supply, so we had some specific language about managing his water irrigation usage and also his wastewater because, also unlike Templeton, we don’t have a sewer system.”

The town’s draft also limits the size of the retail operation to 2,500 square feet and his cultivation facility to 10,000 square feet. Schmidt wants permission to construct a 120,000 square foot structure to house both ends of the business.

The board plans a detailed discussion of the twin HCAs at its meeting this Wednesday night.

In other action, the board spoke with Public Works Director Rick Tenney about the necessity to go into deficit spending to cover the cost of treating local roads for the rest of the winter. Flynn told the board the DPW had already spent the $50,000 set aside in the town’s snow and ice account.

“It’s been an interesting winter, so far,” Tenney said wryly. “It seems like the storms have been long. When you get a 48-hour storm you tend to go through a lot of product. It depends on the time of the day as well. We have to keep the traveling motorists safe.

“We’ve had a couple of breakdowns,” he continued. “One of them was expensive. It was like $1,000 for a transmission that runs the sander — it’s a 2002. But we’ll do our best to do what we can do.”

One resident wanted to know if it was out of the ordinary to have to seek deficit spending at this point in the winter.

“It’s kind of hard to put a date on it,” said Tenney. “It depends on the season and how it goes. We had some snow early on. But I think we’re pretty much right on track. A lot of people really don’t realize how many storms we’ve already had.”

The board ultimately voted to allow Tenney to deficit spend the snow and ice account.

The board also voted to reappoint Jeffrey Parker as Fire Chief until the end of the fiscal year.

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