Latitude 42 principals Sean Power and Jeffrey Shaheen have notified the Board of Selectmen that they are abandoning a plan to include a marijuana cultivation facility in their redevelopment of a prominent Hull site into a medical marijuana dispensary.
The change led to the postponement of a public forum on the controversial proposal for the former aquarium building, which, at 120 Nantasket Ave., sits at the entryway to the town. The forum, expected to have been long and heated, had been scheduled to take place during the board’s Wednesday night meeting.
At the beginning of the well-attended meeting, Jennifer Constable, chairwoman of the board, announced that the forum would not take place that evening because the selectmen were not familiar with the specifics. “The proponent will be outlining exactly what those changes are and how they will impact the original application,” she said. “Without knowing [what the details] are and how they will impact the remainder of the application, there is [no basis for] a forum discussion.”
Power was given an opportunity to briefly explain the reasons for his change in plans. “We have had the opportunity over the last year to create a plan to operate a business in Hull, and we’ve learned a lot,” he said. “While we remain committed to the vision of opening a medical marijuana treatment center at that location, we did listen to the community and have been looking at other locations” for the cultivation component.
Power said he and Shaheen are seeking guidance from town officials on how to effectuate what he described as “substantial” changes to the proposal and to proceed as quickly as possible to submit a revised or new application.
He alluded to the fact that there would be a good amount of space available in the building without the cultivation operation.
“There will be no guidance tonight because we don’t yet know what the changes are,” Constable explained, adding that the board looks forward to the submission of a revised proposal.
Constable said the selectmen could discuss the changes as early as April 28 if the proponents could submit a new or revised application a week before that date to give the board time to review the changes and also to post the document on the town website for the community to access.
There are three steps in the review process: submission and evaluation of the completeness of the application, already accomplished before the proposed changes; the evaluation phase; and the decision-making phase, when the board decides whether or not to approve the application.
This week the board agreed to extend all the dates related to various aspects of the Latitude 42 review process that are part of the board’s Rules and Regulations for Consideration of Requests for Host Community Agreements (adopted in September) for dealing with medical marijuana facility proposals that come before the town. The extensions would allow ample time to consider the revised proposal and public input. These dates also relate in part to possibly hiring expert consultants and engaging in consultation with other town boards.
Selectman Domenico Sestito was not present, and Selectman John Reilly abstained from the vote.