A North Grafton man’s proposal to transform the decrepit and now shuttered Supreme House of Pizza at 313 Old Colony Ave. in South Boston at a modern recreational marijuana store met with strong opposition at a community meeting this evening – just a day after the owner of the pizzeria withdrew his request for pizza delivery until 2:45 a.m. on the weekend. end.
Civic associations Andrew Square and City Point, councilmen Ed Flynn, Michael Flaherty, Erin Murphy and Frank Baker all opposed the Simplicity dispensary plan, as well as state senator Nick Collins. The Gavin Foundation, which runs treatment programs in the area, has also come out strongly against the proposal.
Opposition focused on the inherently dangerous nature of the rotary the store would be on, the fact that tons of children pass through it to and from the park, beach, church and kindergarten, the presence of people with addiction problems who would be enticed to buy a gram or two and the existing Mass and Cass overflow of stumbling drug addicts and serious drinkers.
The store “would only add to the problems in this area,” said a Collins aide.
Colonel Boothe, however, said his simplicity dispensary would make the block, already known as a neighborhood hotspot and meeting place for drug addicts and alcoholics, much safer and more appealing, certainly much more so than the dilapidated building current which houses what was until recently the supreme house. de Pizza, as well as a liquor store and check cashing location.
He said he and his partners would invest $1.3 million to renovate the space – which he said he was already paying rent for – and work with the building’s owners to spruce up the rest of the building. building. He said that in addition to the security cameras the city would ask him to install, he would install additional cameras on the plaza-like space in front of the building.
Referring to people now congregating outside and near shops drinking and littering, he said: “Once we are up and running we will put an end to this in our area.”
He said the three stores would share ten parking spaces and said he expects his business to come primarily from the surrounding neighborhood, not from people coming from afar getting lost and trying in vain to navigate the circle. -point.
Still, he said he would park a worker on the street during rush hour to chase away anyone who tried to double park on Old Colony or even in the roundabout itself. He added that he hoped to launch a courier service for home deliveries, which would further reduce potential traffic and parking problems.
He added that the windows would have frosted glass to prevent children from looking inside – and that in any case his staff would prohibit entry to anyone under the age of 21.
Boothe said South Boston is currently underserved by cannabis stores and he aims to open the store by June. To do so, it will need a “host community agreement” with the Boston Cannabis Board, approval from the Zoning Board of Appeal, and approval from the state Cannabis Control Board.
But few people at the Zoomed meeting bought his arguments.
Bill Bailey of the City Point Civic Association said his neighborhood was already plagued by hordes of people getting marijuana delivered to the beach and then spending the night “passing out and urinating” all over the place. the neighborhood.
“We don’t want it in City Point, we don’t want it in Andrew Square, we don’t want it in the neighborhood, we are strongly against it,” Bailey said.
Also, some residents said they don’t care what the pot shops say – marijuana is a gateway drug.
Dave Decourcey of the Gavin Foundation said the foundation was “categorically opposed” to the store because of the temptation it would mean for the “very vulnerable population of people attending Gavin programs within a few blocks of the site”.
Andrew Square Civic Association president Linda Zablocki said she voted to legalize marijuana, but the specific location was just plain wrong. She said Boothe can talk all he wants to try to improve block or rotary, but his band has been trying for years without success.
Roger Danchik, who lives next door to the building, said his yard was constantly filled with litter left by vagrants in the neighborhood – which he said sometimes makes it difficult for him to get inside his house as they sit on its steps.
“I don’t need potheads around, and it’s not because I’m not used to pot,” he said. “I was a rock and roll roadie for 10 years and I’m very used to it.”
Mary Moore held photos of people strolling past the current store in front of her camera – and a group of children walking past. She said no matter how much Boothe renovates her space, it would still be “a business with a secretive, highly secure feel.”
She told Boothe it was time to think about the kids, that “we deserve a welcoming, inviting and fun business and place for the whole community, including the kids,” she said. “Something fun – an ice cream shop or a cafe.”
Imagine if it was a pottery store where all these kids are walking around:
Dr Bita Zahedi, however, criticized elected officials who said the shop would already make poor conditions at Rotary worse – if they are so worried, she asked, why didn’t they do something sooner? At least Boothe presented “the first proposal I’ve ever seen for improving the wedge”, one that “at a minimum [would bring] some level of security around here.”