Pittsfield Historical Commission approves reconstruction of bakery for pot dispensary / iBerkshires.com

True Leaf is planning a grow facility and dispensary in the former bakery.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. – Cannabis company True East Leaf plans to rebuild the second floor of the former Richmond Bakery after encountering several uneven additions to the footprint of the historic building.

The Historical Commission last week approved a demolition deferral request for the operation, which grants a window of opportunity to find an alternative to demolishing a significant building more than 50 years old.

City planner CJ Hoss explained that owners Kayley Stasiewski and Tommy Pytko aren’t sure if they’ll have to remove more than 50% of the building – which is the threshold for requiring a demolition deadline – but just want to be safe.

“There are several additions to the structure, so it would be difficult for them to work within that framework,” he said.

Jospeh Durwin, who studies structures of historical significance as “The Home Historian”, was hired to create a profile for the property that dates back to the late 1800s.

Durwin found that only part of the second floor is original to the property as it was remodeled in 1958, leaving only the original exterior shingle walls below the sheathing. The ground floor was remodeled in 1960 and an upstairs addition was made in 1985, which is currently not in good condition.

“It would seem that the only original part of the structure is the front part of the second floor, the rear part of the second floor was added quite recently. I think [1985,]” he said.

“What they did was they kind of shored up the whole second floor, rebuilt the first floor in 1960, but they had already remodeled the top apartment two years before, so when you Step into it, it really reflects that period very well, floors to walls to ceiling, everything has been, so there’s really no interior surface that reflects the original structure.”

Council members were surprised that there were no plans to demolish the entire building.

In February 2020, the Zoning Appeal Board approved True East Leaf’s application for a special permit to grow and sell cannabis in the former bakery. It had received approval from the Community Development Board the previous year, but the ZBA delayed the vote for several months due to possible odors and parking.

There is no dedicated off-street parking at the property, as it is sandwiched between two buildings.

Hoss said they may have come to an agreement with Berkshire Medical Center for employee parking.

“It’s like any kind of more urban neighborhood center where you rely on street parking for the most part for these types of businesses anyway,” he said.

Last spring, the owners said they were “very close” to submitting a state application. In an outreach meeting, they described its action plans for safety, diversion to minors and its positive impact on the community.

Commissioner John Dickson asked if the city kept a registry of cannabis businesses in the city, speculating that this was the third or fourth property of a historic nature to be reimagined for this use.

Hoss said there’s a spreadsheet that keeps track of all the cannabis businesses that have been approved, whether it’s a dispensary, manufacturing, growing and even growing. a research company. All companies have also obtained a hosting agreement.

“We’re trying to keep an eye out because so many were approved at the start, we knew it was going to be a slow process but we’re still trying to figure out which ones will probably never happen and which ones are still moving really cheeky.” He explained.

“I think it’s still a slow process at the state level, so I know there are a number of companies, particularly on the crop manufacturing side, that we’ve been hearing about for over two years, at this point three years, more than that, and they’re kind of still following there.”

Keywords: demolition, historic building,

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