ZBA Continues Hearing on Proposed Broadway Marijuana Dispensary

The Zoning Board of Appeals needs more answers about parking, especially for delivery vehicles, at a proposed retail marijuana dispensary at 267 Broadway before it votes for a special permit for the business.

Ola Bayode, the proponent and founder of House of Ermias, was before the ZBA Tuesday night with a revised proposal addressing some questions raised by the ZBA at a past meeting. The Planning Board did approve the site plan for the business with conditions, sending it back to the ZBA for the special permit vote.

However, there were several issues that ZBA Chair Janice Tatarka said still need to be addressed before a final vote. Chief among them is the status of a dedicated delivery loading spot behind the business.

Tatarka and several other ZBA members said they would also like to see a better plan for separating the exit from the business from the entrance for the tenants who will occupy the planned 16 one-bedroom apartments on the second and third floors of 267 Broadway.

Planning Director John DePriest raised the issue of the parking behind the building for deliveries. He said the building owner, Gerald Sneirson, received a special permit for residential parking spots, and that Sneirson would have to go before the ZBA to request a change in his special permit before the city could approve a special permit for Bayode and the marijuana dispensary.

“There will always be at least three to five spaces available during the day,” said Sneirson. “It will be easy in, easy out. I don’t think the unloading will take more than 15 to 20 minutes to a half an hour.”

Bayode said he expected the business would get a delivery of product from its cultivators about once every two weeks.

Still, DePriest said the special permit for Sneirson did not set aside time for deliveries or spaces for commercial use.

“The special permit you received for the building indicated it was reserved for parking of residents, not reserved for parking certain times of the day,” said DePriest. “If you are going to change it … you are going to have to come before the board for a change in your special permit.”

Sneirson said he didn’t think the change in his special permit should delay the special permit for Bayode.

“I don’t agree with you,” said DePriest. “I don’t know how the board can approve this if the spaces he is claiming to have are not there.”

Tatarka said that it didn’t mean that the business wouldn’t be allowed to move forward, but that the special permit issue for Sneirson would have to be addressed first.

“What we are saying is that under your current approvals, you can’t double dip a spot for residential and delivery,” she said. “You can come in and say you want that spot for delivery and ask for a change to the existing permit before we can activate this permit.”

All other parking for the business will be offsite, with a lease agreement for parking spots on Division Street providing eight parking spots for employees, and customers being directed to public parking on Everett and Chestnut streets.

Since the hearing will be continued until next month, Tatarka said she would also like to see Bayode address the issue of a lack of separation between the customers exiting from the business at the same place residents will enter the building. Bayode had proposed a guardrail that would separate customers from the residents.

DePriest said a guardrail wasn’t really meeting a request by the city to separate customers and residents.

“That’s my concern, as well,” said Tatarka. “The commercial business should be completely separated from the residential tenants. It has to be something more permanent than a guardrail.”

In other business, the ZBA granted a continuance to the proponents of another retail marijuana facility proposed for 320 Revere Beach Parkway.

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