Conway residents sign petitions against proposed marijuana cultivation site

  • Fifty Conway residents have signed a pair of petitions voicing opposition to both the possibility of creating a multi-million dollar marijuana manufacturing facility at 40 Whately Glen Road, and to the approval of a growing and manufacturing permit to John Moore and his wife, Lisa Gustavsen, who lead Roaring Glen Farms LLC. AP File Photo

Staff Writer
Published: 1/14/2020 6:09:05 PM
Modified: 1/14/2020 6:08:16 PM

CONWAY — Fifty residents have signed a pair of petitions voicing opposition to both the possibility of creating a multi-million dollar marijuana manufacturing facility and to the approval of a growing and manufacturing permit to a property owner.

The first petition states its signers are not opposed to legalized marijuana or the farming of marijuana plants, but rather to the proposed development at 40 Whately Glen Road, which the petition describes as a historically “quiet, rural, secluded residential neighborhood.”

The second petition mentions that town residents who ventured near the property have reported being “intimidated, threatened, abused, and bullied” by John Moore, who leads Roaring Glen Farms LLC with his wife, Lisa Gustavsen. Moore denies all the allegations, and said he and Gustavsen are devastated by the petitions.

“(The legalization of recreational marijuana) is a difficult transition for everyone and we understand,” he said. “We understand people’s concern, but we do not appreciate a personal attack.”

The petitions and letters from citizens can be found at bit.ly/36DwK9r. Fifty people signed both petitions; seven signed only the first petition; and one signed only the second petition.

The application proposes the cultivation of 3,000 marijuana plants with a wholesale value of at least $3 million. The first petition states a facility of this size has the potential to attract individuals with criminal intent.

“This increased risk of crime will endanger the lives and homes of nearby residents of Roaring Brook Road,” the first petition reads. “The application includes plans to expand the operation to include a 12,000-square-foot greenhouse to grow additional plants, requiring even higher levels of security and surveillance.”

A letter from the same group of residents that followed the two petitions also expressed concerns about the perceived adverse impact of the proposed facility on the neighborhood property values, the farm’s impact on the children’s running program at the Conway Grammar School, its effect on the local water table and the influx of traffic on the road.

Moore said he objects to the accusations of bullying, saying he barely knows any of the petition signers.

“Most of these people, I see once a year or once every two years,” he said. “We live in a very remote area.”

Moore, a Buckland native and military veteran who moved to Conway six years ago, said he has had one confrontation with one of the petitions’ signers and it pertained to a property he was tasked with caring for. He stressed the town government has been a pleasure to work with.

He has said his family has been in Massachusetts since the 1600s and has farmed for five generations. He has 25 years of experience, most recently growing hybrid black walnuts in Amherst. The farm’s name comes from the property’s location at the corner of Whately Glen and Roaring Brook roads.

The Conway Planning Board accepted written comments until Jan. 2 on Roaring Glen Farms LLC’s site plan and special permit applications. Moore is scheduled to go before the Planning Board again in the Town Office Building on Thursday at 6 p.m.

Reach Domenic Poli at: dpoli@recorder.com or 413-772-0261, ext. 262.


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