Traffic Concerns Dominate First Look at Proposed Ward Hill Area Marijuana Shop

Renedring of proposed Frosty Nug marijuana retailer for Boston Road.

Neighbors’ traffic concerns dominated the public’s first look last night at a proposed adult-use marijuana store near Ward Hill.

During a remote community outreach meeting Monday night, officials of Frosty Nug, proposed for 1181 Boston Road, acknowledged heavy, peak-hour traffic. However, traffic consultant Scott Thornton of Vanasse & Associates, Andover, said traffic will still be less than other possible uses of the property.

“For Dunkin’ Donuts, and I’ve permitted a number of those, we typically look at between 200 and 300 trips during the peak hours, which is in the morning. It’s just a drop in the bucket. This site will be a drop in the bucket,” he said.

Thornton said his firm conducted traffic counts on Boston Road and associated nearby intersections. He said accident histories along the roadway fall below state guidelines for “significant consideration.” Resident Jonathan Campbell’s asked whether traffic studies took into account projected development near Farrwood Drive and the Amazon project proposed for Osgood Landing in North Andover. Thornton said he consulted with city officials and other developers and included additional traffic from three other proposed projects.

Campbell also expressed concern that planned landscaping could make an existing “blind curve” more dangerous. Architect Matthew Juros responded the proposed buffer need not be particularly tall and will be reviewed again before opening.

Juros also gave an overview of planned renovations to existing buildings currently occupied by a used car dealership. He said Frosty Nug will keep the shell of the existing buildings, but put a “new skin” on them and renovate the interior.

“The idea is that, what we’re doing is providing a gracious suburban feel. I mean there’s no getting away from the fact that this is a commercial establishment,” he explained.

The store would be open daily from 9 a.m.-9 p.m., except Sunday, when it will be open from 11 a.m.- 7 p.m. The developer said there will be 22 parking spaces for customers, while employees will park at satellite location.

Up to 200 customers a day are expected during regular operation—or 16 customers an hour during peak times. Asked by resident Sean Scharneck about limits on those customers, the developers said the business will begin as an appointment-only operation,  but will eventually switch to walk-ins. Similar to conditions placed by the City Council on other approved shops, Attorney Michael Migliori said a committee of the police chief, fire chief and city engineer will decide when walk-in business can be conducted. Migliori also pointed to this past weekend’s trouble-free opening of Stem, 124 Washington St., as an example of what to expect.

Frosty Nug’s CEO Dominick Garibaldi said Haverhill will receive certain yearly benefits by hosting the story. These include $240,000-$300,00 in new city revenue, charitable donations of $25,000 and 12-16 new jobs with a minimum starting wage of $16 an hour.

Chief Marketing Officer Kristyn Pistone, owner of Pistone Podiatric Foot Center, said strict rules govern the kind of advertising Frosty Nug may undertake. “There will be no advertising by means of social media, billboards, print publications, charitable events or sponsorships unless more than 85% of audience is over the age of 21,” she explained.

Before what would be the city’s fifth recreational marijuana store can open, it will require a special permit from the City Council, a host agreement negotiated by Mayor James J. Fiorentini and licensing from the state’s Cannabis Control Commission.

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