Plans for Marshfield’s first recreational marijuana dispensaries are moving forward through town permitting processes, but concerns over added traffic to roads remains front of mind for some.
Representatives from Frozen 4, a company planning to open a recreational marijuana retail and cultivation facility at 985 Plain St., currently the home of Buckles & Boards, met with the Zoning Board of Appeals on Monday, Aug. 10 in a public hearing to begin to review their site plan and special permit application.
Don Gibson of law firm Driscoll & Gibson, which is located across the street from the proposed facility, submitted a letter in opposition to the special permit and attended the virtual meeting to voice his concern.
“We think this is a disaster waiting to happen,” Gibson said.
The plan calls for the addition of a traffic light on Route 139 at the intersection of Plain and School Streets, but until that becomes a reality the entrance and exit to the facility would be on Lone Street.
Ben Virga of Frozen 4 said his organization would be working closely with the town to put a “robust” plan put in place to mitigate traffic with police detail after opening, committing to keeping that in place until told otherwise by Marshfield officials.
“We’d work side by side with the police to make that decision, and we defer to Chief Tavares,” Virga said. “Whenever Chief Tavares said the plan doesn’t need to be in effect anymore, that’s when the plan would stop being in effect.”
Traffic issues have been common when dispensaries around the state have opened, but Virga said the size of this lot, which includes 123 parking spots, would lessen the chances of a chronic problem.
“Most of the dispensaries that are opening with those parking issues that are making the news have single digit parking spaces,” Virga said. “The reason we pursued this site, the reason why the emergency services of Marshfield have supported our proposal, is because of the number of spots we have.”
Gibson said he didn’t think the facility should be allowed to open until the traffic signal was in place.
“This signalized light isn’t going to materialize for months or years as far as we know,” he said. “You’ve heard nothing about the number of people who are going to be accessing this as customers, how many they anticipate on a hourly basis, a daily basis.”
In previous public meetings and information sessions, Gibson said Frozen 4 presented a different situation than what was in their application and that given the size of the facility, traffic considerations are especially important.
“They’re not putting in 125 parking spaces just for the sake of it,” Gibson said. “They expect a large customer base here and he went to great lengths to say we don’t have to worry about that because the exit is going to be through a signalized traffic intersection.”
The public hearing was continued to Tuesday, Sept. 8.
Follow James Kukstis on Twitter at @MarinerJamesK.