Attendees Complain of Not Knowing Process at Amesbury Road Marijuana Shop Review

Architect Matthew Juros displays rendering of Mellow Fellows shop during community outreach at the UMass Lowell iHub. (WHAV News file photograph.)

If there were two takeaways from last night’s presentation about a proposed retail marijuana store on Amesbury Road, they would be most neighbors don’t want it there and also don’t follow the news.

Representatives of Mellow Fellows—one of two contenders for a marijuana establishment on the street—spent more time explaining how elected officials openly adopted the rules than on the merits of their plan. Architect Matthew Juros said the company is simply obeying the law.

“What we’re doing is we’ve come through and we’re following the guidelines the city has put together in terms of zoning for this area and then following the guidelines the state has put together for how you create and maintain this type of business,” he said.

Mellow Fellows hopes to open in the former Seafood Etc., 330 Amesbury Road. It faces competing applicant Haverwell Market for a spot at 399 Amesbury Road. Haverwell Market’s required Community Outreach Hearing is next Thursday, April 11, 6-7 p.m., in room TC211 at Northern Essex Community College, 100 Elliott St.

During an at-times chaotic meeting, Paul A. Magliocchetti, Mellow Fellows lawyer, emphasized the company is the only one with deep local roots. He identified the three founders—E. Philip Brown, Charles F. Emery and Timothy P. Riley—as lifelong residents who are active in the community. Magliocchetti and Juros noted customers would be seen by appointment only, products are tracked “from seed to sale,” no smoking is allowed on site and a police detail would be used if there are traffic issues. They also pointed to a planned three-tier security system involving a driveway gate, locked entrance and secure area for deliveries. One neighbor objected to the delivery gate.

“Why couldn’t you spend some money and put it at least on the other side of the building and have some consideration and decency for the person that lives in that house and has to put up with all this crap,” said a woman who refused to release her name.

Many neighbors though charged the entire process was done under the cover of darkness. “Why are you going into a residential neighborhood. Why is a City Council member, who voted most likely for this, voting behind the backs of people?” asked another.

Those accusations came despite news over the last two years on local radio, web, social media and a newspaper. Magliocchetti said he agreed with neighbors that industrial parks are better locations, but that the mayor and city council had other plans.

Councilor Colin F. LePage, the only city councilor at the meeting, and Shawn Regan, aide to Mayor James J. Fiorentini, told neighbors there are other approvals required before any shop opens. These include negotiating host agreements with the mayor and obtaining special permits from city councilors. Regan added, Fiorentini has already slowed discussion with Mellow Fellows until he receives more information.

“What he told them was he wasn’t going to let it go forward at this point until they submitted a full traffic plan and also until he saw what the feedback was at this meeting,” he said.

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