Proposed outlet at 252 Summer St.Rendering of proposed outlet at 251 Summer St. / Calyx Peak

Twenty Arlington residents who live near the proposed 251 Summer St. marijuana store attended the Feb. 17 in-person, community-outreach meeting, and all who spoke expressed strong opposition.

Speaking on behalf of Calyx Peak at the Knights of Columbus, consultant Pete D’Agostino said, “Calyx Peak is a leader in the legal cannabis revolution. Founded in early 2016, it’s a multistate operator, with locations in California, Nevada, Missouri and Massachusetts. The team has deep retail experience.” 

“251 Summer St. meets all the town’s zoning regulations, and the location is not within any established buffer zones. We plan to work with the existing building, but, if not possible, Calyx Peak will construct a new building,” said D’Agostino.

“It’ll be a retail store, and all product will be sealed when it arrives. It’s still early in the process, and we need a [written] host community agreement,” added D’Agostino.

Awaiting document

The Select Board approved Calyx Peak's host community agreement at its Jan. 10 meeting. However, “the written document has not yet been issued,” wrote Mary Winstanley O’Connor, the attorney representing Calyx Peak, in a Feb. 25 email to YourArlington.

An HCA identifies the stipulations and responsibilities of both the applicant and municipality. Under state law, a marijuana establishment must execute an HCA with the municipality in which it plans to operate.

Calyx Peak proposes to be open daily from either 10 or 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., serving approximately 80 customers each day. Annual revenue is projected to be $6 million, and the Select Board will determine how the tax revenue is spent, said D’Agostino.

Company's plans

Security

“Our security is extensive, a broad and important matter that goes beyond the placement of cameras. In addition to security cameras both outside and inside the facility, we’ll have alarms, secure doors and a vault inside the building for storage. We’ll restrict access to only those 21 or older, and prevent the onsite diversion of marijuana to minors or the illicit marijuana market. We’ll also have procedures for retail dispensing, personnel policies, storage, transport and onsite deliveries, and work with the Arlington Police Department and local residents,” said D’Agostino.

Calyx Peak CEO Erin Carachilo added, “All transactions will take place inside the building. Nothing will happen in the parking lot.”

Separation

Policies and procedures will be implemented to separate duties where they overlap. “We’ll have a process for diversion risk, and ensure that the chain of custody and individual accountability are always maintained and verifiable,” explained D’Agostino.

Marketing

“We’ll engage in reasonable marketing, advertising and branding practices that do not jeopardize the public health, welfare or safety of the general public or promote the diversion of marijuana or its use in individuals younger than 21,” said D’Agostino.

Access control

All product are to be stored in secure locked storage or a vault to prevent diversion, theft or loss, said D’Agostino.

Reporting

Calyx Peak plans to document and report any unusual discrepancy in inventory to the Cannabis Control Commission and law enforcement authorities within 24 hours, said D’Agostino.

Training

All employees are to be sufficiently trained in the handling and sale of marijuana products, he said.

Community impact

“We’ll try to be a good partner to the community as well as with local government, law enforcement and area businesses to enhance the neighborhood. We intend to create a positive economic impact that’s beneficial to the town and neighborhood via sales taxes,” the consultant said.

Traffic

He said the company conducted a traffic study during rush hour, and its results will be part of its report. The lot of the former service station holds 10 parking spots, and the company hopes that the six on-site employees use public transportation to get to work and customers to the store.

Local residents express sharp concerns

All neighbors who spoke at the meeting remain unconvinced about the store’s benefits. None spoke in favor.

Jimmy Alves, who lives across from the planned site, said: “It will be terrible for our neighborhood.”

Maura Abreu: “It’ll be a disaster. I don’t see it being good for our neighborhood. There’ll be traffic and safety issues.”

Yuzhi Chen: “We don’t want it there. It’s not a commercial area, and there’s no retail on the street. We don’t know whether people driving in and out will be high, which could cause accidents.”

John O’Brien: “I know people who are already planning to sell their homes.”

Kathy Yang, who lives behind the site: “You’ll need to build a wall between my property and this establishment. I don’t want to see any people down there. I moved to Arlington because it’s a safe place, without marijuana establishments. I’m willing to spend my last penny to make sure you don’t move in.”

Barbara Kelly: “We live next door, and am concerned about cars cutting through our driveway. We’ve three grandchildren who like to play outdoors, and we worry for their safety.”

Kathy Walsh. “I’m against this proposition. This establishment abuts, and will impact, my property. Our neighborhood has many families, and young children walk to school every day. Cannabis is a controlled substance. I realize it makes revenue for the town, but down the road they’ll find out that marijuana is not good for people’s health. 

“I’ve watched Apothca [on Mass. Ave. in the Heights] from across the street, and saw someone drive up on the sidewalk. I can’t use my bank next door because it reeks of marijuana.

“People will use marijuana in the parking lot, and drive on Summer Street, where there are children and people walking their dogs. This is not the place to put this type of establishment. With 80 customers per day, there’ll be lots of traffic, which will not help our neighborhood’s property values. I’m furious with this.”

Michael Walsh, Kathy’s husband: “The site has serious drainage issues. It’s all storm water.”

Gavin Wang: “I’m concerned that someone would break into neighboring houses to steal money to buy marijuana.”

D’Agostino explained, “This is our first meeting, and there’ll be other public outreach meetings. We’ll take tonight’s feedback and come up with a plan. In Swampscott, site of another Calyx Peak store, the neighbors originally opposed an establishment in their community. But now, after a year, people are in favor of it. We worked with the neighbors to understand what they’d want.”  


Jan. 12, 2022: Marijuana retailer Calyx Peak gets accord OK, with more steps to come


This news summary, by YourArlington freelance writer Susan Gilbert, was published Saturday, Feb. 26, 2022.