The Zoning Board of Appeals yesterday approved pot shops proposed for Brookline Avenue in the Fenway and Hyde Square in Jamaica Plain.
The rulings mean the applicants can now go to the state Cannabis Control Commission to seek a license to open.
The board continued a hearing on a third proposed shop, at 430-454 Blue Hill Ave. in Grove Hall, until March 26 to let the applicant create a floor plan and detailed written plan showing how it would handle the flow of customers.
MedMen, a California-based chain with 19 existing pot shops across the country, won approval to open what would be its first Massachusetts outlet at 120 Brookline Ave. in what one of its officials called "the beautiful downtown Fenway area."
The company showed renderings of what looked like an Apple Store done in teak, where customers would make selections from iPads in orders that would then be filled in a secure area and delivered to them.
The store would have roughly 7,500 square feet of space, of which about 4,700 square feet would consist of the sales floor. The shop's entrance would actually be on an alley off Brookline Avenue, which officials said would let it handle any possible long queues of customers.
The number of customers proved to be the only sticking point at the hearing - the company was unable to say how many customers it expected to see daily or hourly. Board members expressed concern about that given its location right down the street from Fenway Park.
Although it's based on the other side of the country - and would monitor the shop from a security command center there - MedMen officials said they are committed to hiring locally, including spending $1 million to help set up a Boston chapter of a foundation that works to recruit and train members of groups hit hard by "the failed war on drugs" to get into the marijuana business. The store will also be unionized.
Also approved yesterday: A locally owned pot shop at 401-405 Centre St. in Jamaica Plain, in the basement once occupied by the Milky Way Lounge and Lanes.
The main issue for Core Empowerment, owned by four local residents, was traffic and parking in the congested Hyde Square. The company's attorney, former City Councilor Mike Ross, said the company is looking at leasing about 12 spaces in a parking lot a couple blocks away and is working with nearby restaurants on a shared valet parking system, and with the city on parking enforcement.
Ross added that the shop's security team - overseen by former BPD Superintendent Daniel Linskey, who oversaw arrests of pot dealers when marijuana was illegal in Massachusetts - would patrol the area and that customers found parking in resident-only spaces or even in the neighboring Whole Foods parking lot - would be barred from the shop.
Two nearby residents supported the proposal, saying they expected the shop to be like a neighborhood liquor store, where most customers would be walking to the shop.
Several nearby businesses remained unconvinced, however, and sent a representative to oppose the pot shop over parking concerns. One resident asked the board to think of the children, specifically, all the children she said pass through Hyde Square and would be enticed into becoming customers.
Ross said the store would strictly enforce the state law requiring customers be at least 21.
Ross said that although the space is large enough to handle more than four times the 350 or so daily customers its backers expect, for the first month, the store would be limited to people who make online appointments, so that managers can gauge how best to handle the daily flow of customers
The board took no action on a proposal for a 3,000-square-foot pot shop at 430-454 Blue Hill Ave. in Grove Hall, telling Urban Oasis owners Kobie Evans of Roxbury and Kevin Hart of Randolph they need to come back on March 26 with printed security and customer-queuing plans.