PEABODY — Mayor Ted Bettencourt says he will file an amendment to his zoning proposal to remove three parcels from a designated area for medical marijuana facilities off Route 1.

This is in acknowledgement of the concerns of Lynnfield neighbors who live in the area.

“The whole purpose was to not have this near neighborhoods and schools,” said Bettencourt on Wednesday. “To me, whether it’s Lynnfield or Peabody, they’re neighborhoods.”

On Thursday, the City Council and Planning Board will review what amounts to an overlay district for a handful of parcels on the northbound side of the highway near Holiday Inn.

Lynnfield residents, however, along with House Minority Leader Brad Jones (who represents the town), informed city officials this week of their concern that while the overlay area may not be close to Peabody homes, it directly abuts a Lynnfield neighborhood further south off Route 1.

In fact, the only access to an office park situated behind Holiday Inn is from Green Street in Lynnfield, where there are about a dozen homes. Another 30 or so homes are also nearby.

Bettencourt said that upon hearing from those residents, he drove down to Green Street to survey the situation. His impression, he said, was that the Green Street connection was the main issue.

The mayor will seek to remove from the zoning proposal the parcel containing Holiday Inn and Carrabba’s Italian Grill, as well as two parcels behind it that house the office park.

Bettencourt said he will not be adding any other parcels instead or otherwise modifying the proposal.

That leaves four sites then that could house a pot dispensary: Bertucci’s, Brother’s Kouzina and the gas station next door, Don’s Power Equipment, and 2 acres of empty land behind those properties.

From the start, there has been confusion among city officials on exactly which parcels were intended to be included in the overlay area.

That was due in part to a misleading map that had been included in the initial presentation to the council and an inaccurate description during that meeting of which parcels were included in the area.

The Planning Board and council will convene in joint session to review the proposal at 7:30 p.m. in Wiggin Auditorium at City Hall.

Bettencourt said he does anticipate a decision that night from both the board and councilors.

Staff writer John Castelluccio can be reached at 978-338-2677 or jcastelluccio@salemnews.com

 

Lynnfiled Transparency first highlighted this conflict on April 5, 2017 in an article entitled:

Proposed Medical Marijuana Site Being Reviewed For Route 1