A retail marijuana shop is one step closer to opening at the site of the former King Arthur’s strip club at 200 Beacham St.
Tuesday night, the Planning Board approved the site plan for the 3,800-square-foot facility by a 7-1 vote. The board also recommended that the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) grant a special permit for the proposal when it comes before that board on Aug. 13.
Planning Board member Mimi Rancatore cast the lone vote against the project, citing traffic concerns.
Rancatore noted that she has heard from drivers from the neighboring New England Produce Market who are concerned about the additional traffic on the site.
“Twenty to 30 additional cars per hour is still a lot,” said Rancatore. “There is a lot of traffic on that road, and it is very close to the casino in Everett.”
Representatives from GreenStar Herbals, the company proposing the pot shop, said they have worked closely with City officials and the police to alleviate traffic concerns at 200 Beacham St.
The revised plan brought before the Planning Board includes clearly defined entrances and traffic flow in the parking lot, as well as an appointment system for customers that will limit the number of customers at the store at any one time.
But Rancatore noted that the appointment system is only required for the first month of operation. City Planning Director John DePriest countered that any changes to GreenStar’s approved plans will have to come back before the Planning Board for approval.
Unlike the Dunkin (Donuts) next door, there will not be significant spikes in traffic at the shop during the day, according to traffic consultant Jeffrey Dirk of Vanasse and Associates.
“Any use on the site will generate traffic,” said Dirk. “But the nature of this use is not a significant traffic generator.”
City Manager Thomas Ambrosino spoke in favor of the project, stating it is a major improvement over the current condition of the property.
“In terms of the use, it is a strong proposal to revitalize this property with this use,” said Ambrosino. “It’s been a problem for the city for the four years that I have been City Manager, and probably for a generation before that. We have fought to keep that property from continuing as an adult-entertainment venue.”
Ambrosino said the adult-use recreational marijuana facility is the best the City can hope for at that property.
“Given all the other potential uses for the site, this proposal makes a lot of sense for the City,” he said.
GreenStar originally came before the city with a proposal for 200 Beacham St., but withdrew that proposal to make adjustments more in line with suggestions from City officials and residents.
GreenStar representatives noted that the new building will be an improvement over the existing two-story building on the property.
The new building will be one-story as opposed to two, and will be set further back from the road than the King Arthur building.
There will also be improved landscaping and traffic flow on the site, according to GreenStar officials.