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Pot shop on Washington Street in Oak Square wins approval, but owner has to come back in a year for a review

After voting in July to reject a proposed marijuana shop at the corner of Washington and Fairbanks streets in Brighton, the Zoning Board of Appeal today approved the proposal, subject to several conditions, including that the owner come back in a year for a review to see how the place is fitting into the neighborhood and to post a sign with a 24-hour number residents can call to complain about any noisy or otherwise annoying shop customers.

Pure Oasis, which already has a shop open in Grove Hall, still needs to win approval from the state Cannabis Control Commission before it can open up in what used to be Swan Cleaners. It had asked the zoning board to reconsider its July vote.

Another zoning-board condition would limit the store's Sunday hours to 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., rather than the 8 p.m. it won approval for the rest of the week - and would require BTD to work out a parking plan that calls for only two employee spaces rather than the four the shop said was possible, but which BTD said was not.

As at earlier hearings, nearby residents said the shop would cause both traffic and parking problems. A traffic study by the shop found some 124 open parking spaces along Washington Street, but residents said the study was done at the height of the pandemic, when few people were spending much time in commercial areas.

"I would like to find one of those 124 spaces when I come home in the afternoon," one resident said.

Evans said that as the number of marijuana shops increases, fewer people are driving from one neighborhood to another to buy cannabis products, which would limit the number of people driving to and from the store. His traffic study showed that at peak hours, with traffic counts of 1,085 vehicles, his shop would contribute at most 149 additional cars.

Other residents expressed concern about shop customers loitering in the area after making their purchases. Pure Oasis owner Kobie Evans said that, as in Grove Hall, he would make sure that doesn't happen.

State Rep. Michael Moran said neither he nor the neighborhood are opposed to marijuana or its sales, but that the location was just the wrong one, for the reasons cited by residents. Unusually for a zoning case, Mayor Wu also opposed the proposal. The Brighton Allston Improvement Association also urged a no vote.

The board initially voted 4-3 for approval, which would have killed the request, because state law requires at least five yes votes on zoning matters, but then voted 6-1 in favor after member Hansy Better Barraza proposed several conditions.

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Comments

Can the folks whining about loitering, bad customer behavior, etc provide any actual examples of it happening elsewhere? Electricity itself used to be controversial, but eventually reality won over and the chicken littles packed it up -- when will this happen for dispensaries?

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Voting closed 29

Seems like a perfect spot for it, an area of young college grads. If the pot shop on Washington St. in Newton is any indication(I do not smoke, but I walk past it a lot), this place will be ultra busy.

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Voting closed 12

Hansy Better Barraza will hopefully learn that these conditional approvals are a joke. No one follows up and makes sure they are in compliance.
For the record, I am not opposed to this variance, just the conditional approvals that have no teeth and make a messy process that more messy.

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Voting closed 13

Sorry, should have included it in the story: The proposal didn't "violate" any zoning code, but the code currently requires all marijuana proposals to get a once-over from the zoning board, i.e., conditional, so no burden to prove a hardship.

Every so often, a city councilor or two will propose eliminating the zoning board from the marijuana-approval process altogether now that we have a Cannabis Board to review all marijuana projects as well.

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Voting closed 8

But no complaint about about the myriad delivery drivers that are ALWAYS double parked and taking up space up on this stretch for the late-night restaurants.

Also, check the tape. People don't "loiter" outside the weed store. There isn't a rowdy crowd like you'll find outside the bar or liquir store.

It's amazing to me that these puritanical rules (based on unfounded fears) are less than a decade old.

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Voting closed 26

The original vote to deny Pure Oasis is the only vote legally allowed by board rules and is binding. No other motions or votes may be taken after that. So it has been denied.

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Voting closed 8

Because it sure sounded like the board took one vote, then took another.

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Voting closed 8

Rules of meetings state clearly one motion on the table. Once denied, the end. And no more debate allowed after that, and no more motions. Zoning board violated that. Besides, both motions today were the same: come back after one year to have a look. No difference.

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Voting closed 7

Perhaps you should change the article to say "unclear if Pure Oasis approved - two votes taken on exact same proposal - first one denies it, second one approves it." Confused voting, not sure if the board members knew they were voting on the same exact motion to come back after one year and have a look at Pure Oasis. Should be scrutinized.

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Voting closed 10

Is this part of the procedure/law/rules for all pot shop owners?

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Voting closed 3

They got special treatment via “economic empowerment” because they’re black guys from Boston (even though they’re both real estate bros, not exactly struggling victims of the war on drugs as intended) and all they do is wholesale from all the other very rich, very powerful multi-state operators who force people who care about the quality of their cannabis to go to Maine or find “a guy”.

This is just greedy and I hope they never open.

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Voting closed 6