SOUTHWICK — Representatives from a small marijuana growing company appeared informally before the Planning Board on Dec. 7 in the hopes of getting permission to build a small marijuana greenhouse for commercial distribution.
Sherif Osman and Kevin Koszarek of Faded Flowers LLC were looking for information on how to properly build the greenhouse on a parcel at 771 College Highway, near and across from the Hash House. Koszarek said that he lives in Westfield and is very fond of Southwick, which is why they chose this location for a potential greenhouse.
Koszarek said that they chose a greenhouse because it would have a minimal impact on the surrounding community, compared to some of the larger cannabis growing operations that have popped up since it was legalized in 2016. He said the whole property is 3.5 acres, but they likely wouldn’t need all of that space.
The ceiling of the greenhouse would be 16 feet high at its peak, and there would be blackout shades used at night to minimize light pollution. Koszarek said that they would also use growing methods that rely on less water.
“We want to show that you can build a nice grow without making a large warehouse with a lot of stoners driving around and causing traffic issues,” said Koszarek.
Planning Board Chair Michael Doherty said that the only hiccup in their plan is that the property is not within the marijuana business district designated in town zoning bylaws.
Attorney Christopher Ray, who represents Faded Flowers, said that the pair was looking to have that parcel re-zoned to allow for the business. He noted that while the area isn’t zoned for marijuana cultivation, a greenhouse wouldn’t necessarily clash with the area.
“It is in an area with an already agricultural look and feel to it, so we feel it still fits our proposed use,” said Ray.
Doherty said that it would be possible for the company to submit a request to add a zoning district overlay to that parcel, but that it would require approval from the voters at the annual Town Meeting, which isn’t until May.
“What you are saying doesn’t sound completely unreasonable,” said Doherty.
Osman and Koszarek agreed to begin that process, despite the wait.