Potential Approval: Eastern Avenue Marijuana Facility Close to Permits for Growing, Selling

A proposed marijuana facility at 80 Eastern Ave. will be a soup to nuts operation. Or maybe more accurately, seed to smoke.

The applicants for the proposal, Jolo Can LLC, doing business as Harbor House Collective, appeared before the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) last week for a special permit hearing. Harbor House Collective still needs to go before the Planning Board in October before coming back to the ZBA in November for potential approval of the project.

While proposals for several retail marijuana shops have come before city officials, the 80 Eastern Ave. project differs in that it will include a cultivation and packaging facility in addition to a retail sales component.

Harbor House Collective representatives stated the facility located in the Designers Choice flower market will use the existing 24,700 sq. ft. building to grow and sell marijuana and marijuana products.

“We are aiming to produce 5,000 pounds per year at this facility,” said Mike Farnum of Harbor House. The marijuana that is grown and cultivated will be for sale at the Eastern Avenue retail facility and will not be shipped to other locations.

“Everything will take place right here, we will be creating and cultivating all the products,” Farnum said.

Once city and state approvals are granted, Farnum said there will be a three- to four-month seeding and growing process before any products are ready for sale.

Initial plans call for about 35 employees at the facility with retail hours from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., seven days per week.

City Councillor Joe Perlatonda asked if the employees hired by Harbor House Collective will all be Chelsea residents. Harbor House representatives stated that while they are not required to hire all Chelsea residents, they will make a good-faith effort to make sure 50 percent of the employees  are city residents.

ZBA Chair Janice Tatarka asked about security at the facility.

Security will include approximately 80 cameras covering all areas of the facility, and there will also be several silent security alarms and at least two security officers on duty at all times.

City Planning Director John DePriest said Police Chief Brian Kyes is satisfied with the security plan.

•In other business, the ZBA held a public hearing on a special permit for a  proposed nine-unit, three-story condominium complex at 75-79 Spencer Ave.

DePriest said the Planning Department supports the proposal.

“The petitioner has been working with the department for the better part of a year, and they developed a revised plan that fits in with the neighborhood better,” said DePriest.

Perlatonda said he was glad to see a proposal for owner-occupied units in the city to help balance the number of rental developments in the city.

The project will go before the Planning Board on Sept. 24, and come back to the ZBA for a vote on the special permit Oct. 10.

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