The Town Council approved the Home Community Agreement with the third and final recreational marijuana dispensary in Watertown on Tuesday night.
Sira Naturals seeks to open a dispensary at 48 North Beacon St. in the building where containing Anthony’s Florist and, on the Arsenal Street side, where Escort Limousine.
The agreement is the third approved by the Town Council. Cities and towns cannot deny all recreational marijuana (also called adult use) dispensaries, but they can limit the number to 10 percent of the number of liquor licenses. In Watertown that is three.
The agreement is similar to those made with the other two marijuana dispensaries in Town — Natural Selections at 23 Elm St. and Bud’s Goods & Provisions at 330-350 Pleasant St. — including paying an impact fee of 3 percent of its sales. The facility will also sell medical marijuana, according to the report from the Economic Development and Planning subcommittee meeting held on Sept. 30.
District B Councilor Lisa Feltner said she welcomes Sira, but it would not be her top choice of spots in the area.
“I am glad to see Sira Naturals’ interest in Watertown. We had some great meetings,” Feltner said. “Nothing against the Community Agreement, but it is a little disappointing that Arsenal Street, up at 390, is empty but is not being considered given the ease of vehicle access in and and out, and it is not abutting residents.”
District A Councilor Angeline Kounelis said she does not support marijuana sales, but given the fact that Watertown has limited the number of dispensaries to three, and this is the third one, she will support the Community Host Agreement with Sira Naturals.
The dispensary will have estimated annual gross revenues between $12 million and $15 million, with about $900,000 coming from medical marijuana, according to the subcommittee report.
On Sept. 10, Sira Naturals held a virtual community forum attended by 38 people. At the meeting, concerns about security were raised. Jay Youmans, an attorney representing Sira, said that the company has had its security plans reviewed by Police Chief Michael Lawn.
Others wondered if the dispensary would hurt property values in the surrounding area. Youmans said that studies have shown “no detrimental effects,” according to the report.
Crime and use of marijuana in the neighborhood also came up as concerns. During the forum, Youmans said no increase in neighborhood crime has been seen according to studies of other dispensaries. Also, Sira has a zero tolerance policy for marijuana use in its neighborhood, and Youmans said it has a god track record in other communities in which it operates — Somerville and Needham.
Sira Naturals has committed to quarterly neighborhood meetings to hear from residents about their concerns, according to the subcommittee report.
The dispensary will have 17 on-site spaces (the zoning requires 11). Plus, Sira will lease six other parking for employees. The dispensary is expected to have 10 staff members, and Sira has committed to hire Watertown residents.
Sira will be sponsoring a a BlueBike station, which is about a $40,000 value.
The dispensary could open in August 2021, depending on if and when approvals are received.
Tuesday, the Council voted 9-0 to authorize Town Manager Michael Driscoll to execute the HostCommunity Agreement with Sira Naturals.
Sira Naturals must apply for a license from the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission (CCC) before it can apply to the Watertown Zoning Board for a special permit.
See the Subcommittee report and the Host Community Agreement by clicking here.