Council to Decide Amesbury Road Marijuana Special Permit Procedure Tuesday Night

(File photograph)

Attention, Amesbury Road neighbors: The countdown is officially on to decide which—if any—marijuana shops are coming to town. At Tuesday night’s City Council meeting, Haverhill councilors plan to formally outline the plan of action for the special permit meeting to decide how and when applications for 399 Amesbury Road’s Haverwell Market and 330 Amesbury Road’s Mellow Fellows will be heard.

Click image for Haverhill City Council agenda.

As WHAV exclusively reported last week, the initial plan outlined by Council President John A. Michitson is to have both shops detail their business plans on Tuesday, Aug. 20 in public hearings before the nine-member panel votes to approve or deny their permits.

Adding two unexpected wrinkles to the proceedings: The shops are within one-half mile of one another and both dispute which company submitted their completed application to the city first. Internal city documents reviewed by WHAV indicate Mellow Fellows was the first to be approved at 10:47 a.m. on July 2, with Haverwell receiving approval at 11:01 a.m.

Ahead of Tuesday night’s meeting, both shop owners petitioned members of the council to prove just why their location is right for Amesbury Road. Councilors will use that material when voting Tuesday night whether or not to move forward with the special permit meetings.

In a letter to Michitson, Newburyport-based Haverwell CEO Christopher Edwards says his 4,800 square-foot shop “has excellent highway access, no immediate residential abutters, will have ample parking, and is not expected to have any negative impact on the neighborhood.”

Hoping to do business from 9 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from noon-7 p.m. on Sunday, Edwards expects to employ more than 30 workers at the shop.

In a companion letter to Michitson, Edwards’ Attorney Bill Faraci said his client has five years of experience opening cannabis shops in Salem, Amesbury and Salisbury. “The applicant is a seasoned veteran who has successfully avoided any pitfalls which this business might encounter,” Faraci said in the letter obtained by WHAV.

Faraci also touched on the concerns of crime and traffic brought up by Amesbury Road neighbors at Haverwell’s April 11 community outreach meeting at Northern Essex Community College.

“This kind of facility is going to appear in Haverhill at some point and the remote location and experienced management of such a facility are unlikely to be matched at any other location,” the attorney said. “The presence of security for the facility would discourage any outside drug or criminal activity. Such activity which now exists would be eliminated, thereby improving the neighborhood.”

For their part, the Mellow Fellows—Phil Brown, Tim Riley and Charles Emery—are just as confident their location is the right fit for the area near the Mobil station that is a stone’s throw from Interstate 495.

Hours proposed by the Haverhill natives are 9 a.m.-7 p.m. seven days a week, according to their attorney Paul A. Magliocchetti.

Rather than submit a letter detailing their qualifications related to the cannabis industry, the men submitted their individual resumes and did not formally address the concerns raised by Amesbury Road neighbors in supporting materials to the Council ahead of time. They did, however, submit a copy of their traffic study and lease for their location, as did Edwards.

As has been widely reported, the Mellow Fellows are leasing their 1,600 square-foot space from Councilor Michael S. McGonagle and his sister Kathleen McGonagle Darby, of Mac & D Realty, presenting McGonagle with a conflict of interest that forces him to abstain from marijuana-related votes.

Should one or both Amesbury Road locations be permitted, they would join the three already set to open in Haverhill: Stem at 124 Washington St., Full Harvest Moonz at 101 Plaistow Road, and CNA Stores at 558 River St. All shops must secure licensing from the state Cannabis Control Commission before being able to fully open for business.

Tuesday night’s City Council meeting begins at 7 p.m. in room 202 of Haverhill City Hall, 4 Summer St.

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