Cambridge Day, April 26: Medical marijuana dispensary wins vote for Mid-Cambridge location, a ‘milestone’
Med-marijuana location at issue for clients at pediatric office
UPDATED, April 26: "In California, Marijuana Is Smelling More Like Big Business," The New York Times page-one headline said April 12, over a report about how that state expects a surge in pot growing 20 years after medical marijuana first became legal there.
By contrast, the night before, eight members of the Arlington public, many of them clients of a pediatrician whose offices are in the Water Street building where a medical-marijuana dispensary has been proposed, marched up to microphone and told selectmen they wanted the facility elsewhere.
Seven spoke against the location, and one supported the dispensary. In essence, the speakers were told to bring their issues to the landlord and to the Redevelopment Board once the applicant, the Massachusetts Patient Foundation, seeks a special permit.
First, Town Counsel Douglas Heim explained what the board would vote on -- two additions to the community-benefit agreement that selectmen had requested in February (see agreement below).
Selectman Dan Dunn moved approval, and then members of the public spoke, mostly clients of Dr. Matthew Schofield.
A five-year Arlington resident holding a little boy with a red hat said he was "surprised" to learn of the location and said he didn't want "kids exposed" to the dispensary.
Following voters' will
Dunn responded that comments made in February by Dr. Schofield were "missing important facts." He reiterated the history of the 2012 statewide ballot vote in which Arlington residents cast ballots 2-to-1 in favor. Further, Town Meeting voted twice, including "very narrow" siting locations, in and near the Center.
Dunn said he understood the board's decision "won’t make everyone happy," noting his desire to follow the will of the voters.
Selectman Chair Diane Mahon cited the limited role of her board in this matter and suggested speaking to the landlord. Heim noted the Redevelopment Board option.
Selectman Steve Byrne made clear his support of the dispensary, adding that the industry is "very heavily regulated." He called the business "very nondescript" and said the board is "... not allowing potheads, running around the street."
The speakers continued. A Robbins Road resident said he voted for medical marijuana but does not favor the location. He said the town has leverage to find another place. "... [M]edical marijuana and children don't mix," he said.
David Whitfield, a Water Street resident who called himself a reporter -- he is a senior writer at Inc. magazine) -- said: "I see no reason to oppose .... banks attract more crime than medical marijuana."
The fourth speaker, a woman who said she is a psychiatric nurse practitioner, said she sees the effects of young people smoking pot, including an increase in schizophrenia as a result.
Increase in crime?
Another Arlington resident, who goes to Arlington Pediatrics, asked whether police Chief Fred Ryan said the dispensary would increase crime.
Dunn clarified that Ryan had not said that, but in a memo last November cited the need for more police resources. Town Manager Adam Chapdelaine agreed.
The man said the location is not appropriate location and asked selectmen to stop the process.
A sixth speaker said he has nothing against the dispensary, but questioned the location.
A seventh agreed with that and added that, that "by my math," the dispensary would have to receive $15 million in revenue to succeed.
Dunn responded that financial issues should be raised with the Redevelopment Board when the applicant seeks a special permit in a process called an environmental design review.
That speaker insisted that the selectmen did not ask about the appropriateness of having a dispensary near a pediatrician's office.
Urges a no vote
Last to speak was Dr. Schofield, who said he emailed families in his practice asking them to comment. He said he has spoken with the landlord and had "been getting nothing from him." He urged a no vote.
Selectman Joseph Curro Jr., who at past discussions of the issue, had expressed qualms, said he had looked at agreements in other cities, and some include a minimum payment. For example, he said, Brockton had negotiated $100,000 initially, and wondered whether counsel had considered that.
Heim said he could not recall details, noting the applicant can expect to deal with competition.
The board voted, 5-0, to support the changes to the community-benefit agreement. It was Mahon's first vote on the dispensary issue. She was absent for two earlier votes.
At the end of the meeting, Curro apologized to the manager and counsel for not asking his questions directly to them earlier.
Mahon elected chair, Dunn vice chair
In other business, the board elected Mahon chair and Dunn vice chair for the next year.
Selectmen cast unanimous votes to:
-- Endorse a redrafted Town Meeting article (No. 22) seeking a tree-preservation bylaw following a rehearing. The board had tabled the issue, expressing concern about adding cost and time to developers' projects. The said the "couple of thousand" dollars in cost that proponent Susan Stamps would be added was acceptable.
-- Adopt the Complete Streets policy (see explanation below). The 2015 Town Meeting had approved the policy developed by the Transportation Advisory Committee that would help make the town eligible for $400,000 in grants statewide.
-- Approve second-year renewals for outside seating at Common Ground, 319 Broadway; Ristorante Olivio, 201 Mass. Ave.; and the Madrona Tree, 315 Broadway,
-- Supported a sign for handicap parking at 9-11 Oxford St., where John A. Caruso said his mother, 101 years old, and sister, 80, had trouble turning into the driveway.
-- Backed a sidewalk sale to benefit the Earth Citizen Organization at Body n Brain Yoga, 325 Broadway, on April 16, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
March 31, 2016, memo from Town Counsel Douglas W. Heim about revised community-benefit agreement
As Members of the Board will recall, the Board previously voted to submit a letter of non-opposition to the Department of Public Health regarding potential Registered Marijuana Dispensary applicant, the Massachusetts Patient Foundation, Inc. (“MPH”), contingent on the finalization of an acceptable Community Benefit Agreement with MPH.
Specifically, Members of the Board wished to add provisions clearly affording Arlington access to appropriate MPH financial data. Accordingly, this Office and MPH negotiated the inclusion of two additional provisions, paragraphs “5” and “6” which ensure the Town will receive annual certifications of gross sales as well as all the financial records MPH is required to submit to DPH in additional to agreeing to maintain appropriate data for at least seven (7) years.
Accordingly, the revised Community Benefit Agreement is attached for your review and endorsement.
HOST COMMUNITY AGREEMENT BETWEEN ARLINGTON, MASSACHUSETTS PATIENT FOUNDATION INC.
THIS HOST COMMUNITY AGREEMENT (“Agreement”) is entered into pursuant to M.G.L. ch.44, §53A this day of April 2016 by and between MASSACHUSETTS PATIENT FOUNDATION, INC. a Massachusetts not-for-profit corporation with a principal office address of 36 Glen Ave., Newton, MA 02059 (“OPERATOR”) and the TOWN OF ARLINGTON, a Massachusetts municipal corporation with a principal address of 730 Mass Ave., Arlington, MA 02476 (“TOWN”).
WHEREAS OPERATOR wishes to locate a Registered Marijuana Dispensary dispensing facility (“RMD”) in the TOWN, in accordance with regulations issued by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Department of Public Health (“DPH”);
WHEREAS OPERATOR intends to provide certain benefits to the TOWN by way of gift or grant in the event that it receives a Final Certificate of Registration to operate a RMD in the TOWN by the DPH;
WHEREAS OPERATOR has applied for a certificate of registration from the DPH to operate the RMD in the TOWN at 5-11 Water St., Arlington, MA 02476 (the “Facility”); and
WHEREAS OPERATOR is seeking a letter of support/non-opposition from the TOWN for the siting and operation of an RMD in the TOWN.
NOW, THEREFORE, in consideration of the above, OPERATOR offers and the TOWN accepts the following Agreement terms in accordance with M.G.L. ch.44 §53A:
1. OPERATOR shall pay to the TOWN 3% of the gross revenue received by OPERATOR from retail sales at the Facility accruing from the date of commencement of sales by OPERATOR in the TOWN (“Sales Commencement Date”). The initial payment to the TOWN shall be made on the first day of the seventh month after the Sales Commencement Date (“Initial Payment Date”), and shall reflect gross revenue for the first quarter of sales. Thereafter payments shall be made every six months, and shall reflect the subsequent six month’s sales, with the final three months payment remaining unpaid until three months after the termination of this Agreement. OPERATOR shall notify the TOWN when OPERATOR commences dispensing within the TOWN.
OPERATOR’s records maintained pursuant to 105 CMR 725.105(I)(5) will be available to the TOWN upon request to verify OPERATOR’s payment amounts.
The TOWN may notify OPERATOR to delay the initial payment, in which case the initial payment shall be made as specified by the TOWN; however, the timing of subsequent payments shall be made as if the initial payment had been on the Initial Payment Date.
2. OPERATOR shall make a one-time payment to TOWN of $100,000.00 within one week of the Sales Commencement Date, and the TOWN shall credit OPERATOR $100,000.00 against OPERATOR’s biannual payments.
3. OPERATOR shall work with the Arlington Police Department in determining the placement of exterior security cameras, so that at least two cameras are located to provide an unobstructed view in each direction of the public way(s) on which the RMD is located. OPERATOR will maintain a cooperative relationship with the Arlington Police Department, including but not limited to periodic meetings to review operational concerns, cooperation in investigations, and communication to Arlington Police Department of any suspicious activities on the site.
4. Except for senior management positions, OPERATOR commits to hiring local, qualified employees to the extent consistent with law. In addition to the direct hiring, OPERATOR will work in a good faith, legal and non-discriminatory manner to hire local vendors, suppliers, contractors and builders from the Arlington area where possible.
5. The OPERATOR shall submit at least annual financial records to the Town on or before January 1 5 of each calendar year, with a certification of the Gross Sales for the respective year. The OPERATOR shall also submit to the Town copies of any additional financial records that the OPERATOR is required to submit to DPH.
6. The OPERATOR shall maintain its books, financial records, and other compilations of data pertaining to the requirements of this Agreement in accordance with standard accounting practices and any applicable regulations or guidelines of the DPH. All records shall be kept for a period of at least seven (7) years.
7. OPERATOR shall cooperate fully with the TOWN to prevent “Hardship Cultivation Registrations” as defined by 105 CMR 725.104 & 105 CMR 725.035, including but not limited to OPERATOR’s commitment to delivering to residents of the TOWN unless such deliveries are prevented by circumstances outside of the OPERATOR’s control.
8. The purpose of this Agreement is to assist the TOWN in addressing any public health, safety and other effects or impacts the RMD may have on the TOWN. The TOWN shall use the above-referenced payments in its sole discretion consistent with the purpose of the Agreement.
9. This Agreement shall terminate at the time that either of the following occur:
a. the TOWN notifies OPERATOR of the TOWN’s termination of this Agreement;
b. OPERATOR ceases to operate a RMD in the TOWN
10. The obligations of OPERATOR and the TOWN recited herein are specifically contingent upon the issuance by DPH to OPERATOR of a Final Certificate of Registration for the operation of a RMD facility in the TOWN, and OPERATOR obtaining all required approvals from the TOWN for the OPERATOR to serve patients and caregivers from the Facility in Town.
11. OPERATOR shall not assign, sublet or otherwise transfer this Agreement, in whole or in part, without the prior written consent of the TOWN and shall not assign any of the moneys payable under this Agreement, except with the written consent of the TOWN, provided, however, that a pledge or assignment of assets, profits or receivables required in connection with financing the business by OPERATOR shall not be considered an assignment for the purposes of this paragraph.
12. This Agreement is binding upon the parties hereto, their successors, assigns and legal representatives. Neither the TOWN nor OPERATOR shall assign or transfer any interest in the Agreement without the written consent of the other.
13. OPERATOR shall comply with all laws, rules, regulations and orders applicable to the operation of an RMD, such provisions being incorporated herein by reference, and shall be responsible for obtaining all necessary licenses, permits, and approvals required for the operation of an RMD.
14. Any and all notices, or other communications required or permitted under this Agreement, shall be in writing and delivered by hand or mailed postage prepaid, return receipt requested, by registered or certified mail or by other reputable delivery service, to the parties at the addresses set forth on Page 1 or furnished from time to time in writing hereafter by one party to the other party. Any such notice or correspondence shall be deemed given when so delivered by hand, if so mailed, when deposited with the U.S. Postal Service, or if sent by private overnight or other delivery service, when deposited with such delivery service.
15. If any term or condition of this Agreement or any application thereof shall to any extent be held invalid, illegal or unenforceable by the court of competent jurisdiction, the validity, legality, and enforceability of the remaining terms and conditions of this Agreement shall not be deemed affected thereby unless one or both parties would be substantially or materially prejudiced.
16. This Agreement shall be governed by, construed and enforced in accordance with the laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and OPERATOR submits to the jurisdiction of the Trial Court for Middlesex County for the adjudication of disputes arising out of this Agreement.
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17. This Agreement, including all documents incorporated herein by reference, constitutes the entire integrated Agreement between the parties with respect to the matters described. This Agreement supersedes all prior agreements, negotiations and representations, either written or oral, and it shall not be modified or amended except by a written document executed by the parties hereto.
April 4, 2016, memo about the Complete Streets policy from Laura Wiener, assistant director of planning
The State recently created a Complete Streets Program, to encourage communities to adapt their streets to better accommodate pedestrians, bike riders, and transit users of all ages and abilities. The current thinking in transportation planning is that the way to reduce congestion is not to build more roads, but to encourage people to drive less, by making it safer and more convenient to walk, ride a bike and take transit. This is also called “Healthy Transportation.” because it includes exercise, social interaction, and reduces pollution.
The State program provides financial support to communities to adopt a Complete Streets policy and implement it in future street design. This year, the State will provide grants of up to $400,000 for construction of a complete street, to communities that have been certified by MassDOT.
In order to become certified, the Town must adopt a Complete Street policy that meets the state criteria, and then adopt a prioritization plan for implementation.
Attached you will find a Complete Streets policy for your review, comment, and ultimate adoption. It was developed by a Working Group of the Transportation Advisory Committee (TAC), and endorsed by the full TAC board. DPW Director Mike Rademacher also participated in the Working Group. The Town also included “Adoption of a Complete Streets Policy” as a Best Practice in its Community Compact application. This will help us in getting certified by MassDOT.
Cambridge Day, Feb. 24, 2016: Debate over medical marijuana facility nudges officials toward citywide zoning
Globe, Aug. 5, 2015: Norwood selectmen not opposed to marijuana dispensary bid
This news summary was published Wednesday, April 13, 2016, and updated April 26, to add a link from Cambridge Day, a YourArlington partner
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