Essex residents question proposed location for pot shop

This property at 166-168 Eastern Ave. in Essex will possibly be a retail marijuana shop, the first in Essex. The store Conomo Point Antiques operates there now.

ESSEX — Those attending a community outreach meeting Monday evening regarding a possible recreational marijuana dispensary in Essex were mostly concerned with the shop's location, not what it was selling.

Some were outraged that the proposal calls for a shop to open at 166-168 Eastern Ave. in a residential area right by a school bus stop. Despite these complaints, BB Botanicals LLC, the company behind the proposed pot shop, is within its rights to open up shop at the site, where Conomo Point Antiques currently operates.

Town Meeting in October 2018 voted to extend a moratorium on all future recreational establishments until June 30, 2019, so the town could work out possible zoning details. As of now, however, the town has not instated zoning rules for recreational establishments in Essex. Conversely, there are for medicinal dispensaries.

According to state law, licensed marijuana facilities cannot open within 500 feet of a public or private school.

Many complained about the amount of traffic the facility could cause. Two attendees said the turn off Harlow Street onto Eastern Avenue, which is Route 133, is dangerous enough as it is without the possibility of a busy store on that corner. When asked, John Tremblay, one of the co-owners of BB Botanicals, estimated the shop could be serving 300 to 400 people per day. This did not sit well with attendees. Many argued they moved to Essex to escape the hustle and bustle of other towns. One woman was concerned about how the influx of people could negatively affect the nearby Conomo Point area.

Parking was another issue. BB Botanicals said it was looking to have 50 spots on the property. Many in the audience were in disbelief that it could fit that many cars considering the parcel borders a wetland zone.

As for now, none of the specifics surrounding BB Botanicals' new facility are set in stone. The community outreach meeting was part of the company's application process to become a licensed marijuana retailer. BB Botanicals will still need to get approval from various town departments before it can begin construction, just like any other business.

BB Botanicals is in the midst of securing a host agreement with the town in addition to securing its state license.

This story will be updated at gloucestertimes.com and in Wednesday's edition of the Gloucester Daily Times.

Michael Cronin may be contacted at 978-675-2708, or mcronin@gloucestertimes.com.

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