Latitude 42 wants to turn the old Atlantic Aquarium into a medical marijuana grow house, lab and dispensary.
HULL — More than 162 people joined a virtual meeting board of selectmen meeting in Hull Wednesday night to argue for and against a proposed medical marijuana grow house and dispensary in the old Atlantic Aquarium building on Nantasket Avenue.
The meeting lasted for three hours, but that was not nearly long enough for residents who wanted to speak their minds and ask questions. After three hours of presentation, questions and mild debate, Selectman Jen Constable proposed they end the conversation over a chorus residents saying they wanted to speak. An additional meeting is now set for July 22.
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The meeting was the first step toward Latitude 42 turning 120 Nantasket Ave. into a combination grow house, lab and medical marijuana dispensary. The company, headed by Hull residents Sean Power and Jeffrey Shaheen, needs the Hull Board of Selectmen to negotiate and approve a community host agreement before the company can apply for a special permit to the Hull Planning Board and then submit an application to the state’s Cannabis Control Commission.
According to the company’s presentation, the former aquarium’s building would require extensive renovations, including a complex odor control system, and the company would put up a bond to back its no-smells claim. A community host agreement could include Hull receiving a 3 percent cut of gross sales, estimated at $1.5 million over five years.
If the site is an appropriate place for a dispensary is something the board should take into serious consideration, said Constable.
The vacant building was previously considered for a performing arts center in 2007, a plan that never came to fruition.
The question of water use came up multiple times in the meeting. Tanya Trevisan, consultant for Latitude 42, said the facility would recycle much of the water it used because the plants will be grown in sealed rooms. She estimated it would use a total of 340 gallons a day, or just over 10,000 gallons a month.
According to the United States Geological Service, the average home consumes 80 to 100 gallons of water a day, or 2,500 to 3,000 gallons a month, meaning the commercial facility would consume about three houses’ worth of water.
Resident Polly Rowe said the facility should be far away from residential areas. Power said the building is one of the few the town has that is both big enough and in the marijuana overlay district. Atlantic Hill condominium resident Joe Small said he wished he could “wave a magic wand” and have the company complete a land swap, build the facility elsewhere in Hull and turn the former aquarium into a park.
Resident Tricia Skoler said she was concerned about the environmental impact of the grow house and she was “shocked” about how little she heard about the facility’s potential impact on children.
Resident Marcia Ryamaszewski said she supported the project, which would also rehabilitate a dilapidated building.
Resident Tracey Connors said the town has constantly rejected other development proposals without “hearing all the facts.”
“It’s a great disservice to not allow them to go through the process,” she said. “The town needs revenue and the building has been vacant and an eyesore for decades. The town should be welcoming it.”
Town Manager Phil Lemnios said the town will compile a list of those who wish to speak at the next meeting. Residents can also submit comments ahead of time to Nancy Allen at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reporter Wheeler Cowperthwaite can be reached at email@example.com