UPDATED Jan. 15: The Select Board unanimously agreed to grant a host community agreement to Calyx Peak of MA Inc. to open an adult-use marijuana retail establishment at 251 Summer St., now a defunct auto-repair shop, at its Jan. 10 meeting.
This decision was based on successful negotiations between Town Manager Adam Chapdelaine, Town Counsel Doug Heim, Select Board member Len Diggins, Arlington Police Sgt. Sean Kiernan, Public Health Director Natasha Waden, Health and Human Services Director Christine Bongiorno, Planning and Community Development Director Jennifer Raitt, Planning and Community Development Assistant Director Kelly Lynema and Calyx Peak.
“This is a great location, with adequate parking, and aligns with what the town manager envisions for Arlington’s three cannabis locations,” said Calyx Peak consultant Pete D’Agostino.
However, the approval process has only begun.
“There are lots of additional layers of review. Arlington’s Redevelopment Board must approve the zoning regulations. The Cannabis Control Commission performs a vetting process for any organization seeking a retail establishment,” explained Town Counsel Doug Heim.
“My office previously vetted this company; nothing has changed except that it now has more licenses in Massachusetts, but doesn’t exceed the number allowed by the state. Calyx Peak is still in good standing with my office,” added Heim.
Calyx Peak called well-managed
“Calyx Peak is very experienced in the management and administration of adult marijuana use, and is a well-capitalized company,” said Mary Winstanley O’Connor, the attorney representing Calyx Peak.
“The location will replace a tired-looking building with a renovated and improved site, which will significantly improve property taxes. There’s ample parking, and it’s not anticipated to impact the safety on Summer Street and adjacent roadways,” added O’Connor.
Calyx Peak CEO Erin Carachilo said that her company will work with local architects to produce a refreshed space with more greenery, along with a clean and inviting indoor atmosphere.
Calyx Peak Security Adviser Dan Linskey will work with Arlington’s Police Department to make sure all employees and customers are safe. Linskey served as a police officer in Boston for 20 years, and was later Boston superintendent of police.
“My team will design the physical security standards, policy and procedures. We plan to have 52 commercial-grade security cameras that work 24 hours a day. If anyone disobeys the rules, they’re not welcome in Calyx Peak,” said Linskey.
Carachilo added that all employees will be sufficiently trained, including third-party cannabis training, and must comply with all guidelines. Calyx Peak, a minority- and women-owned business, plants to hire as many local people as possible
“We also plan to have secure in-house delivery. There’ll be no activity in the parking lot that anyone can see,” said Carachilo.
Calyx Peak will have a doctor on staff to educate customers and navigate the best course for consumers, including vets. “Every person is different, and we want to make sure we’re educating based on science, and not just pushing the product,” added Carachilo.
Select Board member John Hurd said, “It’s a very professional company, with a strong commitment to serve the town of Arlington. The location is a good addition to the neighborhood, and I don’t envision major traffic issues.”
In October 2020, the Select Board turned down a Calyx Peak application, but the company returned the following January.
The town's first recreational-marijuana store, Apothca, opened in the Heights in 2020.
Minor changes made to town’s alcohol regulations
Based on feedback from Arlington’s Select Board, legal department, health and human services department and others, the town’s alcohol licenses and regulations are adding flexibility to the types of establishments that can serve alcohol, as unanimously approved by the board.
The regulations now include brewery licenses, in response to three current active requests for more breweries in town, explained Ali Carter, Arlington’s economic development coordinator. “However, if someone opens a brewery, they can have signage for their own product, but not for different types of alcohol.”
The revised regulations discourage the marketing of alcoholic beverages to minors: “Alcoholic beverages served over a counter can only be served at the point of sale after direct verification of a valid drivers’ license to confirm that the customer is of legal drinking age and that customer is the sole recipient of the beverage.”
“We also want to be more flexible with the use of recyclable products, opting for durable materials that could be reused versus disposable items,” said Carter.
Board member Eric Helmuth said, “It’s good to review these regulations, to encourage responsible alcohol service.”
Watch the whole Jan. 10 meeting on ACMi:
Link to Calyx Peak documents
Jan. 20, 2021: Calyx Peak tries again
This news summary, by YourArlington freelance writer Susan Gilbert, was published Wednesday, Jan. 12, 2022, and updated Jan. 15, to add ACMi video window.