Abutters resistant to recreational pot outlet

Traffic at Patient Centric’s proposed West Tisbury venue questioned.

510 State Road in West Tisbury, the home of the not yet open Patient Centric cannabis dispensary. — Rich Saltzberg

Marijuana entrepreneur Geoff Rose came before the Martha’s Vineyard Commission on Thursday as part of a review of an adult-use cannabis outlet to be run by his firm, Patient Centric. The outlet will be co-located with Patient Centric’s West Tisbury medical dispensary, at 510 State Road. 

Much of the overview of the outlet came from Rose’s lawyer, Phil Silverman. Silverman gave commissioners an idea of the parking setup, attempting to speak to concerns raised by abutters. 

“You’re talking about 23 spaces,” he said. “Five are reserved for employees — that’s 18 for both your medical and your adult-use customers. Again, because we can turn over customers easily every 15 minutes, having 18 spaces means that you have four times that. You have 72 spaces, in effect, at this site.”

Per a traffic impact statement, he said that at “weekday peak hour, the most you would see is 21 vehicles during that hour, or about four or five every 15 minutes. On a Saturday, the peak would be about 26 an hour — six, maybe seven every 15 minutes. So there’s more than adequate parking.”

Silverman also said the rush cannabis outlets first saw in Massachusetts “has calmed down substantially” now that novelty has worn off and availability has increased. 

He said he expected the outlet to open “probably a year from now at the earliest,” and that in the lead-up to that opening, as well as after the opening, Patient Centric will work closely with town officials. Initially, there will be police details and parking attendants, he noted. He expected those would be re-evaluated after a month, and Patient Centric would defer to town officials to see if they wish them to continue. 

Commissioner Doug Sederholm, chair, asked if Patient Centric would enter into an “enforceable agreement” with West Tisbury that might allow the town to reduce the traffic by reducing the number of appointments, if need be. 

Silverman replied that was “effectively what we’ve done in Tisbury,” and such a thing could “easily” be done in West Tisbury too. He suggested it might be accomplished via a “special permit process or a memorandum of understanding.”

Rose noted the security lighting at the outlet is infrared, and doesn’t emit light pollution, “but does capture 24/7 anybody on that property.”

Abutter Constance Goodwin, who lives on Island Farms Road, expressed “major concerns” about parking, traffic, and security. Goodwin described herself as “intimately familiar with the property,” and said getting 25 spaces on the lot would be doubtful and “extraordinary.” She said she expects a big increase in traffic, and noted it can take 10 minutes at the present time of year to turn onto State Road from Island Farms Road. 

“It’s going to change the look and the character of the entire North Tisbury business district,” she said. 

Abby Rabinovitz, co-owner of Tea Lane Associates, a real estate brokerage next to 510 State Road, said Tea Lane has been active on the Vineyard since 1967, and in its current location for 20 years. 

“We are opposed to a recreational marijuana dispensary at that location,” she said, speaking for her company. “We are not opposed to a medical dispensary at 510 State Road, but this is the wrong location for recreational marijuana.”

Rabinovitz described the recreational outlet proposal as destined to have a negative impact on Tea Lane Associates, and a negative impact on West Tisbury.

Nearby property owner Clarence (“Trip”) Barnes asked to speak, and Sederholm questioned whether he could comment as a commissioner and an abutter, but Barnes said he was not an abutter. 

Barnes said he supported the facility, and didn’t think there would be security problems, and that traffic would not be worse than traffic in and out of Cronig’s or Vineyard Gardens. “I’m not against this at all,” he said.

Christopher Gorman, who said he was the son of Lois and John Gorman, abutters on Island Farm Road, spoke against the outlet. “State Road is already one heck of a road to get in and out of,” he said. “I also think the people who are petitioning for this are really trying to downplay the traffic issues and the congestion that’s going to result from it.”

Chris Egan, an abutter to the growing facility on Dr. Fisher Road, spoke against the outlet as well. “I think that we have to be aware that this is a highly disruptive business,” he said. “Just imagine Martha’s Vineyard with two liquor stores on it. I know they never like that analogy …” 

Abutter Craig Minor said he wasn’t against the medical dispensary plan, but “it’s already a pretty frightening situation with traffic,” and he’s concerned about anything that would worsen traffic. 

“This seems like the wrong location,” he said.

Sederholm learned from MVC staff comments that they were OK with Patient Centric’s traffic plan, insofar as West Tisbury officials had a hand in modifying conditions based on what’s learned after the dispensary opens. However, he pointed out, the MVC has a responsibility to evaluate the outlet above the town level. 

“We are charged with protecting regional interests,” he said. “This is a major road. Traffic on a major road is an important issue for us to consider.” 

He questioned whether town officials should be solely burdened with evaluating the reasonableness and efficacy of traffic planning for the outlet. 

The commissioner took no action on the outlet. Another leg of deliberation on it is slated for July 2.

9 COMMENTS

  1. I’m not a friend of Geoff Rose. I have no skin in this game and have no need for medical or retail weed. Wherever he wants to operate, NIMBY is going rise up. Geoff has been working on this for a long time. The pandemic hasn’t helped him either. I think it’s time to let him get started.

    • Maybe NIMBY will rise up because when push comes to shove, no one wants to have a drug or liquor business next-door. Why would they? Maybe WT should have thought of this when they voted to allow recreational MJ. Of course it is going to markedly increase traffic. Silverman’s argument that cars will be “changed out” every 15 mins doesn’t seem to me to support the project. I.e., it is not just the size of the parking lot, but the speed with which cars will be wheeling in and out.

      The main problem here, as I see it, is the lack of planning and design when the “West Tisbury Business District” became more than just a gleam in someone’s eye. Each property has its own entrance/egress. What a mess. The whole thing would have been so much better if there were just one or two entrances on each side of the road, with shared parking areas and lanes between them. Preserving more screening between the businesses and the road would have preserved some sense of the original view-shed and the “strip”like quality reduced. Now there is a strip there. More traffic turning in and out of individual entrances of course exacerbates the strip effect.

    • I don’t care about this business project in particular, but it is obvious to any marginally sapient entity that NIMBYism is the reaction to almost any development near middle or upper class property owners. We hate to see it.

  2. 10 minutes to make a left hand turn? I’ve lived in WT for many years, and have never experienced that problem when turning into the nursery, bank, or Island farms community. This reminds me of the long discussion about a 4 way stop or rotary. Once the rotary was complete all found out it wasn’t the catastrophe many had predicted.

  3. Chris Egan said said “Just imagine Martha’s Vineyard with two liquor stores on it. I know they never like that analogy…”
    I agree- we should have a t least 6 recreational and 6 medical dispensaries on the island.
    Let the selectmen know it is our right to be able to purchase this stuff, and they are wrong to restrict it so aggressively.
    And Ms. Goodman. With all due respect, If it takes you 10 minutes to turn onto state road, you should consider not driving. Either that, or look at a clock and actually time it. You might find your “10 minute comment” is a bit inaccurate.
    To put that into perspective, at the worst of the traffic jams at the 4 way stop where the roundabout is now, I never waited for more that 7 minutes. !0 minutes is a long time.

  4. there’s always going to be an excuse for why it’s the wrong location – too much traffic for a downtown area, we don’t want it in a residential area, here it’s bad for neighboring businesses, oh it’s within 10 miles of a church or school…

  5. Geoff…my understanding is that delivery is allowed. Once your customers become familiar with your products can’t they just request delivery?

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