Planning Board approves permits for marijuana store, Dunkin’

Nov 18, 2019

Cannabis may soon come to Dartmouth after a proposed marijuana retail facility was granted a special permit by the Planning Board at a meeting on November 18.

The board granted the permit to marijuana company Apotho Therapeutics of Plainville, MA for a planned 2400-square-foot dispensary in a new development proposed at 479 Faunce Corner Road.

A new Dunkin’ restaurant in the same development was also granted a special permit at the meeting.

Both projects will still need their site plans approved by the Planning Board before they can move forward.

At the meeting, project architect Dennis Colwell described the proposed marijuana operation and its security measures and plans for traffic and odor mitigation.

Colwell said that the store would employ 10-12 people, would be open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., excluding holidays, and would include an ‘express lane’ for customers picking up online orders.

He added that the plans included both bicycle and car parking as well as an overflow parking lot elsewhere in the development.

As for security, Colwell noted, the facility would be covered with both security personnel and video surveillance cameras “at all times” and include alarms on every potential entry and exit point, bulletproof glass, and other precautions.

The store will also have carbon filters in its ventilation system to clear the air of any marijuana odors.

Attorney Mark Bobrowski — who represented the developers at the meeting noted that the marijuana facility proposal met the criteria for a special permit set in the town’s bylaws.

These criteria include the requirement that the facility not be within 500 feet of a residence or a place where children are likely to congregate, that it not be within 1,000 feet of another marijuana facility, and that cannabis will not be consumed on-site, among others.

However, some at the meeting disagreed with this assessment.

Paul Crewe, representing the Faunce Corner Executive Center at 500 Faunce Corner Road across the street from the proposed development noted that the new facility would be near Boston Children’s Hospital. 

He asked that the board allow adjacent property owners to review application materials provided just that afternoon.

But Board Chair Lorri-Ann Miller said that the town’s zoning enforcement officer determined that the application met all of the criteria for a special permit.

Bobrowski noted that the town stands to benefit significantly from Apotho moving in, as the company has promised a community impact fee of three percent of its gross sales to Dartmouth.

With a projected revenue of around $15 million per year from the start, according to Apotho manager Pat Casey, Planning Board clerk Stephen Taylor noted that the town could gain $450,000 per year from the impact fee alone.

Apotho has also promised an additional $340,000 per year to the town, as well as a $10,000 donation to Dartmouth’s public schools for drugs education programs and another $15,000 to local charities.

“That’s real money either way,” Stephen Taylor said, adding that the board shouldn’t be “scared” of approving a marijuana facility. 

“You could argue that children are more likely to be in a tough health condition from too much Dunkin’ Donuts than they are gonna be from proximity to the marijuana shop,” he said.

The board went on to approve a special permit for a new Dunkin’ in the same proposed development.

Project engineer Larry Silva represented the developers, stating that the restaurant would have 35 seats of various types, including couches, as well as a meeting space with charging stations and a seasonal patio area in the front.

Although objections were raised by attorney Greg Koldys representing Michael Panagakos, who said that the fast food establishment would negatively impact traffic and the tone of the neighborhood, the board ultimately rejected this view.

“I worked in that area for 18 years,” said Miller. “And if I wanted to get a lunch, I had to get into my car and drive...I created part of the traffic jam in that area, because I’d have to go down to Route 6.”

The Planning Board will review site plans for both proposals in December.