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BRATTLEBORO — A proposed cannabis grow facility in an office building downtown prompted some unease from a neighboring business and Development Review Board members.
Derrick Brooks of District 802 LLC said the facility will be in rooms on the third floor of 28 Vernon St., an office building formerly known as the Marlboro College Graduate School.
Last week, the Development Review Board approved the project with the condition that “emission of odors that are readily detectable without special instruments at any point beyond the property line and that interfere with the reasonable use and enjoyment of property is prohibited.” Before granting permission to proceed, the board entered into deliberative session to privately discuss the application.
According to meeting minutes, the session “focused on odor, security and the limits of local review allowed by the state.”
“The Board determined that security issues are the purview of the state while odor is an allowed local review criteria,” the minutes state.
At the hearing, Brooks was unaware if other tenants were informed of the project by the property manager.
“That part does concern me a little bit,” Development Review Board Chairwoman Maya Hasegawa said. “Because of the state regs, we can’t keep you from growing. It just does concern me.”
Zoning Administrator Brian Bannon said tenants weren’t given notice of the hearing because they’re not considered interested parties or neighboring property owners.
In May, Brooks obtained Development Review Board approval for a cannabis grow facility at 73 Main St. Now, the project has changed locations.
Pierre Landry, facilities manager at Holstein Association USA, said his group opposed the new proposal due to concerns about security and odor. He described how a bridge connects parts of 1 Holstein Place to 28 Vernon St.
“We’re basically just down the hall,” he said. “There are doors that are closed and secured but there are times that they are open.”
Bannon said the state of Vermont regulates what aspects of a proposed cannabis grow facility can be reviewed by towns, and security is not one of them.
“I personally have some questions about what the state has decided,” Hasegawa said. “But it can be grown if we grant conditional use approval in a commercial area.”
Aaron Howe of District 802 LLC said the operation will be “highly controlled” and be more like a laboratory than a greenhouse, with security “highly regulated” by the Vermont Cannabis Control Board.
“We’ll have a security system internally, motion sensors and door sensors,” Howe said. “It’s specifically covered under the insurance policies of what is required.”
Development Review Board member Michael Averill said the board would be trying to figure out a way to make sure odors won’t create a nuisance. If odors become an issue, Bannon can be contacted to help make corrections, which could lead to fines or court.