Proposal for Pot Shop Withdrawn

The proponent for a retail marijuana establishment on Broadway withdrew his application for the project at Tuesday night’s Zoning Board of Appeals meeting in the face of uncertainty about the condition of the property at 307 Broadway and the property owner’s record with the city. Vladimir Samuel, the director of Concrete Garden, Inc., asked the ZBA for an extension of the public hearing to get a handle on the myriad of violations at 307 Broadway in an attempt to address them. Last month, the Planning Board voted not to recommend approval for the special permit for Concrete Garden, citing the long list of violations and pending legal action the city has against the owner of the property, Peach Enterprises, Inc. At Tuesday’s ZBA meeting, city officials voiced many of the same concerns they raised at the earlier Planning Board meeting on the application, stating they had no issue with Samuel’s proposal, but did have issues with Peach Enterprises. “This city has no objections substantively to a marijuana retail facility on Broadway,” said City Manager Thomas Ambrosino. “The city has adopted this and we encourage this type of development, we think it is good for business and we think it is good for the downtown. We are opposed to anything happening at this specific location because this owner has repeatedly refused to comply with the city’s request to remedy outstanding code violations.” Ambrosino said there have been long standing zoning, building code, and electrical code violations at the address that have never been remedied. “I don’t think any city board should be accommodating this owner by granting continuances,” he said. “I say again to this applicant, find another location and I urge the board to deny this request.” ZBA Chair Janice Tatarka noted that the only benefit in granting the extension could be that the applicant would fix issues that the owner has ignored in an effort to get his business up and running. “We don’t have an objection to this petitioner, I’m not saying Mr. Peach has to make these repairs, but this gentleman might find that it is worth it for him and his business to make the repairs that Mr. Peach refuses to make,” she said. “If that is the case, and I don’t know if it is or isn’t, but then you get the repairs you are looking for, because we know Mr. Peach isn’t going to do it.” City Council President Roy Avelleneda voiced his vehement opposition to making any concessions at 307 Broadway. “It rubs me the wrong way that we are rewarding bad behavior,” he said. “If you act like a good, upstanding owner, then we can come and work with you.” Tatarka eventually raised the option that Samuel could withdraw his application without prejudice. With that option, she said Samuel can either look for a new location and come back to the ZBA, or, if the outstanding issues at 307 Broadway are taken care of, he could file a new application for his business at that address. “You could potentially continue to work with Mr. Peach and come back later when the actual work is done with the same proposal,” Tatarka said.

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