Changes proposed to Mill Village Road marijuana cultivation site plan

  • Christopher Chamberland, left, a civil engineer with The Berkshire Design Group, explains to the Deerfield Planning Board some proposed changes to the site plan for the greenhouse project at 198 Mill Village Road on Monday. STAFF PHOTO/DOMENIC POLI

  • The greenhouse at 198 Mill Village Road in Deerfield, as seen in November 2018. The Planning Board has decided to hold a public hearing about proposed revised stormwater plans for propane storage at the site, where marijuana will be cultivated. Staff File Photo/Dan Little

  • The greenhouse at 198 Mill Village Road in Deerfield, as seen in November 2018. The Planning Board has decided to hold a public hearing about proposed revised stormwater plans for propane storage at the site, where marijuana will be cultivated. Staff File Photo/Dan Little

  • Workers tend to perennials in the new location of Pioneer Gardens at the former Bridal Barn & Tux Shoppe location in Deerfield. Staff Photo/PAUL FRANZ

  • New greenhouses are being built and perennials are already growing in the new location of Pioneer Gardens at the former Bridal Barn & Tux Shoppe location in Deerfield. Staff Photo/PAUL FRANZ

  • The new location of Pioneer Gardens at the former Bridal Barn & Tux Shoppe in Deerfield. Staff Photo/PAUL FRANZ

  • New greenhouses are being built and an older barn is being utilized at the new location of Pioneer Gardens at the former Bridal Barn location in Deerfield. Staff Photo/PAUL FRANZ

  • Perennials grow as new greenhouses are built at the new location of Pioneer Gardens at the former Bridal Barn & Tux Shoppe location in Deerfield. Staff Photo/PAUL FRANZ

Staff Writer
Published: 8/9/2019 6:12:24 PM
Modified: 8/9/2019 6:12:12 PM

DEERFIELD — The Planning Board has decided to hold a public hearing with the Selectboard about proposed revised stormwater plans for propane storage at the 198 Mill Village Road project.

Earlier this year, GOGRIZ, LLC purchased the property expected to be operated by Suns Mass Inc. for marijuana cultivation. Changes have been proposed to the project’s site plan for various reasons and Christopher Chamberland, a civil engineer with The Berkshire Design Group, addressed the Planning Board on Monday to explain the desired alterations.

Planning Board Chairman John Waite decided a public hearing was necessary and made a motion. He joined Henry “Kip” Komosa and Paul Allis in voting in the affirmative. Max Antes Jr. voted against the motion.

“I’m opposed to everything about this project,” he said. “Just keep it consistent.”

When contacted by the Greenfield Recorder to ask why he opposes the project, Antes said over the phone that he had “nothing to say” to the newspaper, and hung up. Planning Board members Roger Sadoski Jr., Rachel Blain and Ann-Mary Cloutier were not present at Monday’s meeting.

Moving Pioneer Gardens

Chamberland explained that 198 Mill Village Road was, until earlier this year, the home of perennial plant producer Pioneer Gardens, owned by Arjen Vriend and Jaap Molenaar. A 114,000-square-foot greenhouse, two houses at the front of the property and additional parcels of agricultural land expected to be leased back to Pioneer Gardens for agricultural use were sold in the deal.

Pioneer Gardens’ headquarters is moving to 425 Greenfield Road, the former site of the Bridal Barn & Tux Shoppe. Vriend has said the Bridal Barn buildings are part of a limited liability company he and Molenaar own. Vriend also said a new greenhouse will be built with the money.

Chamberland said an application has already been submitted to the state Cannabis Control Commission to allow for cultivation at the Mill Village Road property. There would be no retail, he said.

Proposed changes

Chamberland said the existing greenhouse’s interior is being renovated. He also said an existing barn was initially expected to remain, but it was evaluated and determined to be inadequate for the operations designated for it.

Therefore, Molenaar and Vriend now propose taking down one of the barns and moving it to their new location for reuse. This, Chamberland said, will allow for better consolidation of parking.

“The footprint of the proposed building has been reduced by approximately half,” he explained. “It’s about 16,000 square feet, as proposed.”

Chamberland said it has been realized it would be advantageous to have a large supply of propane on site for efficiency’s sake. The tanks would be larger than 10,000 gallons. This was the reason for the Planning Board to request the public hearing.

While the office building has a septic tank, Chamberland added that the new building will need its own septic tank. Chamberland said the request for a new septic tank has passed permitting with the town health inspector.

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


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