Just days after meeting with the public and getting some pushback about a proposed adult-use marijuana shop in Vineyard Haven, Patient Centric CEO Geoff Rose went before Tisbury selectmen Tuesday to talk about a host-community agreement.
The agreement would determine annual tax revenue, agreements to participate in local town, business, nonprofit, and philanthropic organizations, and education and community outreach efforts.
“The host community agreement is fundamentally an agreement for financial, I’ll call it remuneration … by the town for products, services that the town may have to utilize in the course of dealing with our business,” Rose said. Rose reminded the board Tisbury can garner up to 3 percent of gross revenues as part of the host community agreement. By another method, a percentage of sales tax, Rose told the board Tisbury could glean up to another 3 percent of gross revenue: “I feel that I have the experience. I’ve been advocating for safe, appropriate use of cannabis now for over six years, and I’m looking forward to working with the town.”
Selectman Jeff Kristal asked if the host agreement was specific to the unit Rose proposed occupying in the Woodland Center.
“The host community agreement does state that that property is compliant with the bylaw of the town,” he replied. “It’s in the B2 district …” Later the board came to believe it was specific to the property, though Rose did not seem to provide a direct answer on the matter.
“Have you looked at any other places?” selectman Jim Rogers asked.
“I’ve spent a good deal of time looking up and down the B2 in this town and other zoned areas,” he said, but essentially said he didn’t find anything, though his response was a bit unclear. He pointed out to Rogers the location was “off Main Street” and “down underneath the Woodland Center.” Rose went on to say there are 100 parking spots in Woodland Center, and via an “informal analysis,” the maximum number of spaces his business would require amounts to 12.
“I understand the public outreach wasn’t too well received,” Rogers said.
“I got several comments,” Rose said. “But you know, I think there were concerns on the part of businesses that are there. My goal is to work with them and mitigate some of the issues. Unfortunately, there may be issues wherever one goes. So the idea is to be responsible, cooperative, and deal with, work with the individuals. I understand the concern[s]. You know one of them was traffic.” He described traffic as “probably the single most concern,” and said it was reasonable to require up to 12 parking spaces.
Rose went on to illustrate he went out of his way to be honest and friendly with his potential neighbors: “When I started the process, I proactively went to a number of the businesses in that area. I wasn’t required to, but I felt that that was the right thing to do.” To those business owners, Rose said, he gave “upfront” explanations of his business model. “That’s the way I operate,” he said.
“So you’re in receipt of the letter from the attorney from Woodland Center …,” Kristal asked.
“I am,” Rose said.
“So they’re not just opposed to it; they’re adamantly opposed to it,” Kristal said. “They gave several reasons, a lot more than just parking.” Kristal went on to ask if Rose endeavored to grow cannabis, not just sell it in Tisbury.
“I’m only looking for a location for a retail marijuana establishment,” he said.
Kristal asked why Rose did not opt to retail his product where he intended to propagate it — West Tisbury.
“Part of the consideration is that this is a very large Island. And so I looked at what I thought was a geographically appropriate location.”
Chairman Melinda Loberg asked if there was any way to foretell if all concerns about the business could be mitigated prior to the board signing a host agreement.
“Respectfully there really are two separate processes. If there are concerns about the property, and any other issues related to it, that’s a planning board [concern]. That’s when I start the special permit process … The host community agreement is between the selectmen and Patient Centric to negotiate …”
“Sorry, if you’re saying this goes specifically [to] Woodlawn unit 11, I’ve got concerns with just signing the [community host agreement] saying that’s enough, we’ll let the planning board figure it out,” Kristal said. “We’re charged with the town as a whole.”
“Well, I agree,” Rogers said. “I have concerns with what the abutters are saying.”
One abutter who was present spoke out, as she did at the public forum. Chiropractor Slavin said she co-owned unit 12 next door. She said her unit shares a bathroom with unit 11, and she said she has “very legitimate” concerns about parking.
“It’s a busy place,” she said. “And so having another 12 cars, as he said, would be a major burden at busy times of the season.” Slavin also brought up the dance studio.
“There are tons of kids there,” she said, many of whom feel comfortable going to Humphrys or even walking down to our practice. So that should be part of the conversation.”
Rose said the children wait outside in a porchway, and “there’s no way as a responsible parent that I would permit my child to walk through the parking lot … around and down.” Furthermore, he said, all they would see if they did was a business that looks like a doctor’s office.
Ultimately, Rose agreed to meet with Slavin at a later date to see if they could find solutions. The selectmen declined to vote on the host agreement, and proposed revisiting it at their next meeting.