The Dresden Planning Board unanimously approved Michael Stewart’s application to open a retail storefront for his medical marijuana business at 353 Patterson Road following a public hearing at Pownalborough Hall on Monday, July 19.
Stewart’s business, Smooth Remedies, was approved by the town to operate in a delivery capacity in March. Having updated his individual caregiver license through the state, Stewart submitted an application to open a “caregiver retail store” at a property currently owned by his father, Daniel Stewart.
“Through a holistic approach to health, wellness, and farming, my mission is to offer safe and effective alternative medicine to patients to better their quality of life,” Stewart said in a statement included with his application packet.
When asked by planning board Chair Jeff Pierce what kinds of products he would have at the store, Stewart said he would carry cannabis products in three forms: flower, which is smoked, concentrate, which can be applied topically or smoked, and edibles.
Dresden resident Sue Pilgrim submitted a three-and-a-half page written statement against approving Stewart’s application. Pilgrim said that she has lived on Patterson Road with her family for 25 years, and argued that a medical cannabis business is not compatible with a residential neighborhood for various reasons, including safety, aesthetics, and impacts on nearby property values.
“While I applaud Mr. Stewart for desire to start a business, I have serious concerns about this proposal and how it will impact our residential neighborhood and our property. As we are nearly across the street, we will see, hear, and be impacted by any activity at 353 Patterson Road,” Pilgrim said in her letter.
When the board opened up the hearing for public comment, Pilgrim declined to speak and referred the board to her written statement.
Daniel Stewart said that he would give his number to all of the store’s neighbors, many of whom were in attendance, and that they could reach out to him any time about their questions or concerns.
“Come see us and we’ll do everything we can to make it a good neighbor for you,” Daniel Stewart said.
The board then unanimously voted to approve the application with the conditions that Michael Stewart would label and define the business’s four parking spaces, work with the town’s code enforcement officer for the placement of his sign, and deploy some sort of buffering between the store’s parking lot and a neighbor’s driveway.
In other news, the board also welcomed new planning board member Dawn Palace, who fills the vacancy left by former member Russell Peckham. The board also reelected Pierce as chair, Dan Hanley as vice chair, and Patty Stewart as secretary of the planning board.