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Marijuana Sales

December 7, 2018

LOWELL -- The first week of recreational marijuana sales in Massachusetts led to frustrated Leicester residents as the small town battled unprecedented traffic problems.

Lowell Mayor Bill Samaras wants to make sure that traffic flows, and headaches are kept to a minimum, when the first recreational store opens in the city next year.

Patriot Care Corp., located on Industrial Avenue East, could open as soon as January.

“I’ve been getting calls from people across the city concerned about this,” Samaras said about potential traffic issues.

His motion at Tuesday’s City Council meeting requested City Manager Eileen Donoghue to instruct the proper departments to prepare traffic mitigation plans ahead of the stores opening next year.

Traffic won’t be as bad as in the small town of Leicester, but Samaras expects traffic to pick up, especially with people coming down Route 38 and other area roads.

“Wherever these stores open up, it’ll create traffic problems,” he said.

In April, Lowell negotiated and executed a host-community agreement with Patriot Care to convert its existing cultivation and manufacturing facility and dispensary at 70 Industrial Avenue East from medical only to combined medical and retail.

Patriot Care then appeared before the Planning Board and obtained the required approvals to have retail marijuana sales at their dispensary location.

Next, Patriot Care proceeded through the state process with the Cannabis Control Commission. In September, the dispensary obtained its provisional state license.

As part of the application process, the company has to provide a traffic mitigation plan, the city manager said.

“I will get you a full report,” Donoghue said at Tuesday’s meeting.

City Councilor Rodney Elliott referred the motion to the Cannabis Control Subcommittee.

In other business on the Tuesday, the council:

* Adopted the minimum residential factor for Fiscal Year 2019.

* Authorized a $450,000 loan order for Wastewater Treatment.

* Amended Ch. 56, entitled Personnel, by amending various sections.

* Accepted a report on Upkeep of School Grounds.

* Accepted a report on No Turn on Red Boylston and Rogers.

* Accepted a report on School Zone Speed Limits.

* Accepted a report on Lighting along river and canal walkways throughout the City.

* Accepted a report on Fence at Eagle Park.

* Accepted a report on Lighting at Fort Hill Park.

* Accepted a report on Fire Station Washer Ejector Units.

* Accepted a report on LPD School Crossing Guards.

* Accepted a report on Senior Center Bus.

* Received a report on MassDOT Hearing for River Road Project.

* Received a report on Capital Needs.

* Appointed Mary Donnelly and Beverly Gonsalves to the Council On Aging.

* Authorized the city manager execute the memorandum of understanding with MVEA Wastewater Unit II.

* Authorized the city manager execute the memorandum of understanding with MVEA Wastewater Unit IIP.

* Authorized the filing of special legislation to add three associate members to the Conservation Commission.

Motions

* Request city manager provide a report regarding the Joseph Cady Bicycle Race held at Shedd Park on Nov. 18; include estimated costs to repair the damaged areas of the route to its original condition.

* Request city manager have city solicitor draft the proper vote on a resolution in opposition by City Council of the FCC proposed rule to cut 5 percent funding for public access stations.

* Request city manager consider entering an Energy Savings Performance Agreement aimed at reducing energy costs in all school and municipal buildings and using those savings to pay for capital improvements and repairs.

* Request city manager instruct the transportation engineer to review the efficiency of the traffic light sequencing along Route 113-VFW Highway-Route 38 traffic corridor.

* Request School Department and/or Law Department provide the council with a copy of the “soon to be completed” fiscal audit of the School Department.

* Request city manager take the necessary steps to install a water-level gauge at the Pawtucket Falls.

* Request city manager place Starr Avenue on the paving list.

Follow Rick Sobey on Twitter @rsobeyLSun.

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