Another medical marijuana grower seeks to locate in Bridgton

By Gail Geraghty

Staff Writer

A medical marijuana growing operation, Bridgton’s second, is being proposed to operate out of a nondescript three-bay warehouse building set well back from Route 302, across from J.P. Gallinari Electric.

New Age Builders of Biddeford is proposing to divide the 3,000 square-foot garage-style building at 527 Portland Road into three growing rooms of roughly equal size separated by 12-foot walls and ceilings. Although the front of the building has three large bay doors, only the door on the right would be used to enter and leave. The two doors on the left would be filled in from the inside, making them unusable while appearing as doors from the outside. The existing rear door would also be filled in, according to the preliminary site plan application.

The Bridgton Planning Board on Tuesday had little to say about the plans, as they were deemed to be incomplete. Robert Greenlaw, acting on behalf of New Age Builders owner Jim Messer, had not yet notified all abutters to the project.

Board member Fred Packard has property near the site, and said he hadn’t received notification. Packard added that Gallinari Electric owner Joe Gallinari had also not been notified. Other items missing from the application was an entrance review by the Department of Transportation and proof of financial and technical capacity. The application was tabled until the Dec. 1 meeting.

The 3.7-acre parcel is shown on town records as being owned by Allen Follett of Lincoln. Follett filed a building permit application for the project listing New Age Builders as the contractor. The property has frontage on both Route 302, where there is an existing driveway, and Brocklebank Drive, which serves several residential properties.

Other than describing the structural changes to the inside of the building, Greenlaw’s application offers few specifics on staffing for the cultivation operation, other than to say that “there will be no products sold or dispensed to patients form the actual building.” The application states that all products “shall be delivered directly to the patients,” and as a result there would be typically two vehicles at the building at any one time.

A 24-hour security system will be installed to monitor all doors and all outside and inside areas of the building. The owner would be available by phone at any time should the need arise, the application stated. There will be no sign to identify the operation, and no food items will be manufactured there.

Greenlaw stated that he was asking for staff approval of the project because “we did not find direction under the zoning ordinance for cultivation facilities, only dispensaries.”

The Planning Board is aware of deficiencies in the rules that were adopted in June governing medical marijuana, having only recently completed review of plans for a cultivation operation inside the former Bridgton Knitting Mill. The board has scheduled a workshop later this month to discuss changes.

Police Chief Richard Stillman was vocal in opposing the Knitting Mill operation, citing security concerns during transport of the marijuana to a dispensary in Biddeford. However, he is deferring comment on this newest proposal until such time as the board deems their application is complete.




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