Faunce Corner Road pot shop plans withdrawn

Sep 2, 2021

Plans for a recreational marijuana store at 529 Faunce Corner Road have flamed out after developer Michael Panagakos withdrew an application for the proposed Elevation Retail site at a Sept. 1 Zoning Board of Appeals meeting.

The proposed site would have been in the town’s Marijuana Overlay District, but faced setbacks such as being within 500 feet of a residential property and 1,000 feet of a proposed Solar Therapeutics store that would be part of the 479-493 Faunce Corner Rd. development.

SITEC engineer Steve Gioiosa noted that Panagakos has been trying to lease the space, adding that the building has been empty for some time.

There were plans to house a medical marijuana dispensary, with Coastal Compassion signing a community host agreement with the town in 2018 to build a 6,200 square-foot facility, but plans fell through.

According to Gioiosa, the reason was due to the town changing the zoning to allow for retail cannabis along that part of Faunce Corner Road.

“That did make the economics for medical less viable,” he said.

The Zoning Board, along with nearby abutters, also expressed concern with the space’s proximity to the Boston Children's Hospital campus in North Dartmouth.

Gioiosa objected, saying that the structures are “well over 1,000 feet” from each other and that the hospital is not a location where children congregate.

“There are children there, but they’re not congregating,” he said. “They are there for treatment, they are going there to see their doctors.”

He also disagreed with the Zoning Board saying the site would be within 1,000 feet of an existing space, noting that Solar Therapeutics has yet to break ground.

“Although it has gone through some of the permitting here in town, it does not exist,” Gioiosa said. “We cannot represent that it ever will be constructed.”

Developer Ken Steen — who currently owns land that abuts the property and the proposed site for Solar Therapeutics — confirmed at the meeting that the Somerset-based company still intends to expand into Dartmouth.

In May, the cannabis retailer signed a host community agreement and is currently awaiting the green light from the state’s Cannabis Control Commission.

According to Steen, once approved, he anticipates that Solar will open its Dartmouth location within six months.

“It is in fact going to be built,” he said. “We’ve actually started preliminary site work.”