Local Government and Politics, News

Lynn City Council responds to Saugus lawsuit over pot shop

The Lynn City Council has filed a response to a lawsuit filed by the town of Saugus, which appealed their decision to allow a pot shop to operate on the town line.

The lawsuit filed in Land Court last month argues that about 10 inches of a Boston Street building known as the former O’Brien’s Pub — the proposed home of a recreational marijuana store — a third of the deck, most of the parking spaces and an existing dumpster are all in an industrial district of Saugus.

Recreational cannabis establishments are banned in every zoning district in Saugus, according to the complaint filed against both the Lynn City Council and the cannabis applicant, Massachusetts Green Retail, by the Saugus Board of Selectmen and the town’s building commissioner.

The town argues it was harmed by the Lynn City Council’s decision to grant a special permit allowing Massachusetts Green Retail to operate. The pot shop would share a building with a new Bianchi’s Pizza shop, a longtime staple on Revere Beach.

But in its response, the city of Lynn disputes many of the claims in the lawsuit, and plans to file a motion to dismiss the case, “based on Saugus not being able to demonstrate harm different from any other business,” according to James Lamanna, an attorney for the city.

According to the filing, the City Council argues that all seven of the proposed parking spaces for the shop are entirely in Lynn, along with the portion of the building where the retail marijuana business would operate. The Board of Selectmen had said the company failed to ensure that use and parking would not take place in Saugus, where marijuana use is prohibited.

The City Council denies that Massachusetts Green Retail failed to provide any security measures for the transportation of marijuana and that the company’s plan failed to address pedestrian or vehicular movement along Boston Street in Lynn, which continues as Lincoln Avenue in Saugus.

“The plaintiffs will be unable to prove that cannabis traffic and cannabis customer parking is different in any way from traffic and parking generated by a restaurant which had been located on the site for several decades,” reads the City Council’s answer.

The Lynn panel also refuted claims they failed to hold a full and public hearing on the company’s application on March 26 before granting the special permit. The Saugus board argues that the council did not allow an attorney representing the town, or the public, to respond to information provided to the council by the applicant’s attorney regarding access and parking issues at the site.

But the City Council said the information was provided following a public hearing where both sides were given an opportunity to speak. The information was provided based on questions and concerns from the council regarding access/egress and parking issues that required clarification from the applicant’s attorney, according to the filing.

A response from Massachusetts Green Retail has not yet been filed.

 

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