HOLYOKE — A hearing on a proposed marijuana cultivation and manufacturing establishment will continue next month after a paperwork mix-up delayed discussions Tuesday.
New York-based Buudda Brothers has requested a special permit to operate a recreational marijuana cultivation and manufacturing establishment at 90 Sargeant St. The City Council’s Ordinance Committee continued a public hearing to Oct. 6 at 6:15 p.m.
The committee met virtually Tuesday, as City Hall remains shuttered during the coronavirus pandemic.
Chair Rebecca Lisi said the Planning and Economic Development Department did not receive updated plans from Buudda Brothers before Tuesday’s hearing.
John Toro, a manager with Buudda Brothers, said the required documents were submitted Sept. 18, meeting the deadline. The company said the bulk of its plan had not changed, but some wording was updated in the traffic and environmental impact statements.
Toro said he was “under the impression” the documents first go to the city clerk’s office and then to interested parties.
Lisi said the City Council is not in the position to conduct “technical reviews” of plans, which typically falls under the Planning Department’s purview. “I don’t think we’re in the position to move forward without the approval of the planning review,” she said.
Ward 5 Councilor Linda Vacon said, “I think it’s unfortunate that the communication did not get fully circulated.”
Ward 6 Councilor Juan Anderson-Burgos said he “felt bad” that a company willing to invest in Holyoke was not offered guidance on navigating the city’s bureaucracy. He suggested creating a checklist for future applicants.
Ward 2 Councilor Terence Murphy said he toured the Sargeant Street location with the owners last week. He expected minimal traffic along the corridor, mostly due to work shift changes.
Buudda Brothers plan to renovate three floors of the building. Murphy recommended adding parking spaces on nearby Front Street, which would not affect traffic flow and alleviate congestion on Sargeant Street.
Murphy called for continuing the hearing and finalizing Buudda Brothers’ application before the City Council’s Oct. 6 regular session. “I know these gentlemen are working hard to get things moving,” he said.
In May 2020, the City Council approved a special permit for Buudda Brothers to open a retail store at 604 Main St. A separate permit seeks to expand the operation into 606 Main St. for cultivating marijuana.
The company had combined the 90 Sargeant St. plan into its last application.