OLD SAYBROOK – After rejecting the company’s first attempt, the Zoning Commission approved Fine Fettle’s plans for a marijuana retailer on Boston Post Road on Monday night.
Public opposition from neighbors of the 233 Boston Post Road site continued after Fine Fettle returned to the commission with a scaled-back version of the store the commission rejected back in October. But the changes were enough to flip the vote to 3-2 in favor of the application on Monday.
“We’re happy that our new application met their requirements,” Fine Fettle CEO Ben Zachs told CT Examiner. “We know that there’s public worry, but now it’s our job to go forward and make this happen the right way.”
Neighboring residents and businesses have said the building is a bad location for the marijuana store, that Fine Fettle will cause more crashes at an adjacent intersection between Boston Post Road and an Interstate 95 off-ramp, and that it will be bad for the existing businesses.
Old Saybrook Police Chief Michael Spera told the commission on Monday that 233 Boston Post Road is no place for retail outlet because it’s close to the intersection of Boston Post and Springbrook roads and doesn’t have a traffic light or a large parking lot.
“There isn’t a citizen of the town of Old Saybrook that would think that putting a business that’s successful with a high customer turnover at 233 Boston Post Road would be a good idea,” Spera said.
First Selectman Carl Fortuna, who opposed Fine Fettle’s first application for traffic concerns, said he wished the company would have listened to the concerns of himself, Spera and residents of the town and considered a different space in town.
“The fact that they did not sets them off on the wrong foot,” Fortuna told CT Examiner. “However, as demand is met for cannabis with multiple locations all around us, I am hopeful that the traffic concerns don’t come to fruition.”
Old Saybrook’s regulations limit marijuana retailers to the two properties that were approved for medical marijuana dispensaries that never opened, 233 Boston Post Road and 5 Custom Drive, where Jacqueline Appleby is proposing a marijuana growing operation.
Vice Chair Mark Caldarella and Marc Delmonico both maintained their votes against the application from the October vote, while Chair Robert Friedmann and Ann Marie Thorsen maintained their votes in favor of it. Alternate member Justin Terribile, who also voted for the application, was seated in place of Geraldine Lewis, who voted against the application in October.
In January, neighboring Westbrook approved another marijuana dispensary on Boston Post Road despite opposition from neighbors.
This story has been updated to include comments by First Selectman Carl Fortuna