Marijuana business proposed for former restaurant site

Jun 24, 2021

Apotho Therapeutics hopes to establish a retail marijuana business at 747 State Road, the now-vacant location of the former Near East Asian Fusion Restaurant.

The Plainville-based company appeared before the Zoning Board of Appeals on June 23 to request a variance that would allow the company to locate a marijuana dispensary outside the town’s marijuana overlay district along Faunce Corner road.

Apotho has already received a similar variance from the Zoning Board to open a marijuana cultivation facility at the current location of the Dartmouth Indoor Tennis at 757 State Road, very close to their proposed retail site.

Before the cultivation business can begin operation, the company needs to have a site plan approved by the town. The company also needs to execute a host community agreement with the Select Board, town director of development Cody Haddad said.

State regulations require that host communities can receive up to a three percent community impact fee and a three percent local tax on all marijuana sales, adding up to six percent.

Communities can also ask companies to make donations toward charitable causes in the area.

Apotho President Mathew Medeiros said having a retail and cultivation site so close together would ensure the town would receive extra revenue because the cultivated product could then be sold by the nearby retail facility rather than have to be shipped out of town.

The cultivation site would grow more than enough to supply the retail business with all the product it needs, he said.

Medeiros said that the two businesses could earn $1.2 million for Dartmouth per year. He said that is based on a projected income of $10 million per year for the retail side and $40 million for the cultivation side per year.

A variance is being sought to locate the business outside the town’s marijuana overlay district, which is located along Faunce Corner Road, north of the railroad tracks.

The proposed site at 747 State Road would be a better location, attorney John Williams said, because there is less traffic in the area.

Not all residents agreed.

Locating a marijuana facility “anywhere on Route 6 would cause huge traffic issues and accidents,’’ Christopher Imbriglio wrote in an email to the board.

Michael Guilmette, who lives on Reed Road, said that when UMass Dartmouth students return to a full schedule “it’s going to be a circus’’ in that area.

Director of Public Health Chris Michaud raised objections to potential “nuisance odors’’ that might affect both the adjacent Capri Motel and a large residential subdivision proposed immediately west of the building.

Medeiros said steps could be taken to mitigate odors and that any remaining odors would be limited to the interior of the building.

The building has been empty for some time.

Williams said having to pay taxes and fees on a vacant site has caused a hardship for the building’s current owner, Jian Guo Zhang Realty Trust.

A sign outside the building reads “Coming Soon: The Steak House & Saloon’’ but no businesses have been located there for some time, Williams said.

“This property is rendered useless for its intended purpose,’’ he said.

The Zoning Board of Appeals continued the discussion until its July 21 meeting.