Zoning board greenlights Route 6 pot shop

Jul 22, 2021

Plans for a retail marijana establishment at the former Near East Asian Fusion Restaurant on Route 6 will blaze ahead after Plainville-based Apotho Therapeutics was granted a variance from the Zoning Board of Appeals on July 21.

Apotho has already received a similar variance from the Zoning Board to open a marijuana cultivation facility at the current location of the nearby Dartmouth Indoor Tennis — outside the town’s marijuana overlay district along Faunce Corner Road.

“The hours are reasonable and the use is a retail use,” Board Chair Halim Choubah said. “If this wasn’t a marijuana retail, this would be allowed as of right.” 

While there was unanimous approval for retail marijuana on the site, board members still had some concerns over traffic flow and security on the property.

Apotho President Mathew Medeiros noted that under state regulations, licensed businesses must update local law enforcement on security policies and procedures as the process goes along.

This includes sharing building plans, camera locations, and items such as panic buttons.

“It is a requirement for a licensee upon zoning and going forward for a facility to have quite a lot of discussions with the police department,” he added.

Medeiros said additional safety measures will include cameras monitoring the outside of the dispensary, along with security personnel to observe and facilitate traffic.

At the board’s previous meeting on June 23, some residents said they were worried that having a marijuana retailer would increase congestion along State Road.

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.

Steve Gioiosa, an engineer with SITEC, said that a study done on potential traffic generation found that with the addition of a new business along State Road, “the level of services do not change markedly in the area.”

“We have a high capacity road with a low existing traffic flow,” he said.

Although, Gioiosa said, the data is limited.

There would also be an additional entrance/exit specifically for vehicles transporting products from the proposed cultivation facility so trucks don’t “head out onto the public way,” Gioiosa added.

“There’s a traffic benefit where the same operator is running both facilities,” he said.

Board member Alan Youman said while he was “a little concerned” whether Apotho would meet the board’s requirements, he was overall impressed that those remaining questions were addressed.

“I think they’ve made that part of the burden,” he said.

With the special permit approved, the dispensary can go through the process of setting up a Host Community Agreement — a contract stipulating terms and conditions of operation — with the town. 

Once the parties have agreed on the terms of that contract, the company will apply to the state Cannabis Control Commission for permission to open.