TRURO — Abutters of a proposed recreational cannabis cultivation and processing facility on Old Bridge Road expressed concern at a recent planning board hearing that their properties would be engulfed in the skunky smell the plant gives off and their neighborhood might be targeted by criminals looking to steal the profitable crop.
The proposal, submitted by Out There Grown and Pure Joy Farm, both members of the High Dune Craft Cooperative, calls for both indoor and outdoor growing areas for cannabis, two sheds for drying, two trailers for storage, and a commercial kitchen in an existing house where the cannabis would be processed into a variety of products such as oils, creams, and edibles, and then branded for sale.
While both growing and processing would take place at 23 Old Bridge Road, the adjacent property at 21 Old Bridge will be needed to meet the town’s minimum lot size of 1.5 acres, as well as for access to number 23. The adjacent lot would also provide parking.
Out There Grown is owned and operated by Stephanie Rein and Arthur Bosworth. Debra Hopkins is the owner of the two Old Bridge Road properties that make up the target site; she is a principal of Pure Joy Farm. The farmers plan to share a 3,600-square-foot greenhouse and outdoor growing area in an arrangement that has been approved by the state Cannabis Control Commission (CCC).
Because it is located in a residential zone, the operation requires site plan approval from the Truro Planning Board and a special permit from the zoning board of appeals.
The provisional license from the CCC also allows processing marijuana not grown at the site. But attorney Michael Fee, who represents both applicants, told the planning board on March 23 that his clients do not intend to import cannabis. The facility’s purpose, Fee said, “is to process our products. The only thing we will import are the seeds.
“The greenhouse is about as high-tech as it gets,” said Fee. It is equipped with fans and humidity control. “The configuration of the greenhouse is designed to make the airflow go with southwesterly winds,” he said, which would send odors toward 25 Old Bridge Road, currently vacant, and the National Seashore.
Brothers David and John Wilson, who own 25 Old Bridge Road and nearby 19 Hatch Road, were concerned about those odors. John has lived at 19 Hatch since 1968. David plans to build a house at 25 Old Bridge, the brothers told the planning board. “Even if we’re not building,” John Wilson said, “it would devalue any use.”
“The proposed greenhouse is 126 feet from the property line at 25 Old Bridge,” said David Wilson. He said he feared “armed intruders approaching from the south to rob the hash crop.”
The Wilsons wanted the planning board to require screening on the shared lot line with the target site. Calling that idea “cart before the horse-ish,” Fee said it wasn’t appropriate to ask for screening when nothing was built at 25 Old Bridge Road yet.
Regan McCarthy wondered how the waste would be handled. “This is all new to us,” she said.
Marc Tarrasch, who lives at 8 Old Bridge Road, said his concern was the road. “It’s marginal,” he said. “It gets washed out in the rain. I’m worried about the wear and tear.”
The planning board public hearing was continued to April 6 after attorney David Reid, who is representing the Wilsons, said the required legal advertising and abutters’ notice had mistakenly listed only 23 Old Bridge Road as the target site, failing to mention number 21.
Meanwhile, Fee will put together more information on 21 Old Bridge, including plans for composting, parking, the commercial kitchen, and odor control.
Earlier this week, Fee said in an email that he plans to resubmit the farmers’ applications with the additional information requested by the planning board on April 19. The hearings would be re-advertised and “the next substantive hearing should take place on May 18,” Fee said.
The High Dune Cooperative, which includes four local growers, has already reached a host community agreement with Truro. That agreement provides the town with a fee equaling one percent of the operation’s gross sales in the first year, 2 percent in the second year, and 3 percent in the third.
A second marijuana facility, called “the Hatchery,” is also in the works. It is a joint venture planned for Noons Heights Road by Zachary Ment, owner of the Piping Plover in Wellfleet, and Jonah Turner and Harlen Howard, co-owners of Eastham’s Salty Farmers.
Earlier this week, Ment said in a phone interview that the Hatchery has just finished negotiating a host agreement with Truro. After a community outreach meeting, they will apply to the state for a provisional license, Ment said.
Editor’s note: Because of a reporting error, an earlier version of this article, published in print on April 7, inaccurately gave the name of one of the applicants for the cannabis facility on Old Bridge Road. It is Out There Grown, not “Over There Grown.”