Planning Board OKs site plan for Tempest pot retailer

For the Athol Daily News
Published: 2/21/2022 2:22:24 PM
Modified: 2/21/2022 2:22:02 PM

PHILLIPSTON – After taking one step back at the Feb. 9 meeting of Phillipston’s Selectboard, Damon Schmidt took took one step forward in his three-year effort to get his proposed retail cannabis business off the ground at the Planning Board’s Feb. 14 meeting

Once all is said and done, the store will be constructed at 420 State Road/Route 2A, at the corner of Baldwin Hill Road. Schmidt currently has retail and cultivation operations in various stages of completion in the towns of Hubbardston, Phillipston, Royalston, and Templeton.

At the recent Planning Board Zoom meeting, Schmidt submitted a document confirming a successful perc test had been conducted on behalf of Tempest Cannabis/Damon Schmidt at the property on State Road. A perc test is conducted to determine the rate at which water absorbs – or percolates – into the soil in order to design and install a septic system. While Schmidt had previously submitted proof of a successful perc test, Planning Board Chair Bernie Malouin – who also chairs the Selectboard – wouldn’t accept the document because it lacked the signature of Phillipston Health Agent Phil Leger.

“Hopefully,” said Schmidt, “tonight’s the night. I did what you wanted, Bern. I went back to Phil and I said you have to sign this, and he reluctantly signed it. No, he was good about it. He signed it for us and, hopefully, you’ve got what you asked for.”

Then, even though Schmidt began the application process quite some time ago, Malouin asked, “Who filed for the site plan review? Is it going to be Tempest or is it going to be somebody else?”

“What do you mean?” asked Schmidt, sensing another delay might be in the offing.

Malouin replied, “Who’s the applicant?”

“You guys have that,” said Schmidt. “Tempest, slash, Damon Schmidt.”

Malouin then noted that the purchase and sales agreement for 420 State Road mentions Schmidt, but not Tempest.

“No,” Schmidt explained. “Generally, you don’t have the store own the property. But I have two names on the application: Tempest, slash, Damon Schmidt. Why? Is that a problem?”

“When you did the other part,” Malouin continued, “you just put Damon Schmidt, like you took Tempest out of the picture.”

Schmidt then reiterated that Tempest was never on the purchase-and-sales agreement.

“Normally,” interjected board member John Telepciak, “when someone comes with an application, they own the property where the work is going to be done. But, if you don’t own the property, then you have an agreement so that it is accounted for, that whoever owns the property is involved.

“That’s where that came from. They needed a purchase and sales, just to show that the owner of the land was OK with what was going on on their property.”

“But Damon’s not the owner of the land,” Malouin stressed.

“It says right on the application for site plan approval,” said Schmidt, hoping to move the process forward, “the landowner’s name and the applicant’s name. I mean, you guys are stuck with the application.”

“I don’t think that matters,” Telepciak said again. “The owner has to be involved in some way, that’s all, and it looks like he is. I don’t know why we’d need to change that. I think that part of it is fine.”

“And it probably is,” Malouin said. “I might get some clarification on this. But my understanding is we’ll proceed, unless something comes up – that there’s an obvious flaw that we need to resolve.”

While Schmidt’s site plan has now received the OK from the Planning Board, it was determined at the Feb. 9 Selectboard meeting that a new host community agreement is needed because the host community agreement approved by Schmidt and the Selectboard in June 2020 expired in December. A request by Schmidt that the agreement be extended was shot down unanimously.

An application for a new host community agreement was to have been filed with the town as of Feb. 14.

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