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Public hears more on plans for marijuana business at Tasty Top

  • Dave Potter, who is a managing member of Easthampton Advanced Research Park, LLC, a company interested in using the land adjacent to Tasty Top on Northampton Street in Easthampton to build a marijuana facility, fields a question during a meeting the company held, Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020 at Eastworks. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Dave Potter, a managing member of Easthampton Advanced Research Park LLC, fields a question at Thursday’s meeting. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Nora DeJasu, right, a member of the Easthampton Historical Commission, asks a question during a meeting held by Easthampton Advanced Research Park LLC to provide information about the company’s proposal to build a marijuana facility at the Tasty Top site on Northampton Street in Easthampton, Thursday, at Eastworks. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Dave Potter, who is a managing member of Easthampton Advanced Research Park, LLC, a company interested in using the land adjacent to Tasty Top on Northampton Street in Easthampton to build a marijuana facility, fields a question during a meeting the company held, Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020 at Eastworks. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Dave Potter, who is a managing member of Easthampton Advanced Research Park, LLC, a company interested in using the land adjacent to Tasty Top on Northampton Street in Easthampton to build a marijuana facility, fields a question during a meeting the company held, Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020 at Eastworks. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Danielle Martineau, right, who lives at 89 Northampton Street in Easthampton, asks a question during a meeting held by Easthampton Advanced Research Park, LLC to provide information about the company's proposal to build a marijuana facility at the Tasty Top site on Northampton Street in Easthampton, Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020 at Eastworks. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Marge Prendergast, center, of Easthampton, asks a question during a meeting held by Easthampton Advanced Research Park, LLC to provide information about the company's proposal to build a marijuana facility at the Tasty Top site on Northampton Street in Easthampton, Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020 at Eastworks. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Tasty Top at 99 Northampton St., Route 10, in Easthampton is the site of a proposed marijuana business. GAZETTE PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • In this undated photo, Paul Carlson of Florence hits golf balls at the driving range in the back of the Tasty Top on Route 10 in Easthampton, GAZETTE FILE PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 1/17/2020 12:14:25 AM

EASTHAMPTON — Answering questions on topics that ranged from energy use, to traffic to viewshed preservation and noise pollution, two Californians made their pitch at a public meeting Thursday for developing a marijuana facility at the Tasty Top property on Northampton Street.

But in addition to bringing a research and development-focused marijuana business to Easthampton, the company is also looking to keep ice cream on the site.

“We’re going to figure out a way to bring it back,” said Dave Potter, a managing member in Easthampton Advanced Research Park LLC.

David Bouquillon, the other managing member, said that after he raised the possibility of keeping Tasty Top, at least a dozen people approached him about their experiences at Tasty Top, and requested that they keep it as part of the site.

“That’s what we want to do,” he said.

Both Bouquillon and Potter said they’re interested in refurbishing the Tasty Top sign. And Potter said that they’ve gotten the secret of Tasty Top’s ice cream from Dennis Courtney, whose family owns the property and the business, which he said was a high cream percentage.

“We’re not going to bring it back and put out, you know, Hood’s Ice Cream,” he said. “Not a chance.”

Potter was the main presenter at the meeting, which was put on at Eastworks by his company. A community outreach meeting is in keeping with guidelines set out by the Cannabis Control Commission and is a requirement for applicants seeking recreational marijuana licenses.

“It’s the public input that matters,” said Potter, at the start of the meeting. “That’s why we’re having this preliminary meeting tonight.”

Easthampton Advanced Research Park has an option to buy the property. Previously, a shopping plaza was planned for the 34-acre site, which is owned by the Courtney family. Stop & Shop acquired a permit in 2010 to build a 40,900-square-foot supermarket and other retail space. However, that plan fell through, and the permit expired last fall.

The proposed marijuana facility would have 5,000 square feet of retail space, 5,000 square feet of manufacturing and a combined 22,000 square feet of growing/research and development space. It would also be in the footprint of the Stop & Shop property, leaving much of the property undeveloped.

Potter emphasized the research and educational aspect of the project.

“There is no science,” said Potter, on marijuana. “It’s all experienced based.”

And he cited pursuing marijuana research as an opportunity for the western part of the state.

Potter also said that a “sincere effort” would be made to hire locally.

On the issue of marijuana odor, Ken Bouquillon, who is consulting on the project with the company GS Thermal Solutions, said there would be none. He said the company would use carbon scrubbers and hydroxyl generators.

“There will be no smell coming from this facility,” he said.

All of the growing at the facility will be indoors.

In the public comment period, Larry Kostek cited traffic issues on Northampton Street, and asked what would be done about it. In response, Jean Christy, of Tighe & Bond, a civil engineering firm that is consulting on the project, said traffic had not been studied as part of the project yet, but that it would be.

Marty Klein noted that the site has prime farmland on it, and asked if the company could lease some of the land to farmers as part of its plans. He also challenged the company to build most of the facility underground and to utilize solar power extensively.

And he asked that the company to preserve the “iconic views of the mountains” at the site.

Another person who brought up the value of the viewshed was Nora DeJasu, a member of the city’s historical commission.

In responding to DeJasu, Potter said the aesthetics of the area would be respected.

“We’re not going to build some sort of monolithic box there,” he said.

However, in responding to abutter Danielle Martineau, he did say that no visuals of what the facility would look like were available, although he did note that it would be within the same area that the Stop & Shop would have been.

After the presentation, City Councilor J.P. Kwiecinski said he thought the presentation was very different from what the city had with Stop & Shop. He said it was a “scaled-down project” that can complement the community.

“I’m feeling hopeful that something can happen here,” he said.

Klein, who has worked in the marijuana industry, said after the meeting that he’d seen “a lot of these presentations.”

“At this point in the process they’ll say anything,” he said. “They’ll promise the moon. So, let’s wait and see.”

Bera Dunau can be reached at bdunau@gazettenet.com.




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