Future marijuana grower says he won’t release water or odors into environment – Low Calorie Diets Tips

WESTFIELD — Water coming in and water going out occupied the Planning Board this week as it mulled over plans for a marijuana greenhouse on Timberswamp Road.

Jeff Baksa, co-owner of Lucky 7 Cannabis Inc., responded to concerns raised last month about his proposed odor control system by eliminating a mist spray and instead offering to install charcoal filters.

“They’re really powerful systems,” he said at a June 21 meeting. “They don’t give anything away to the environment. … I want to be a good steward of the environment and also a good steward of the community and have no intention of being a bad neighbor to anyone.”

At their April 19 meeting, planning committee members expressed concern that Baksa’s previous suggestion of trapping odor particles in a vapor mist would result in plant particles and chemicals falling around the site and leaching into groundwater.

The now-proposed CleanLeaf activated carbon filters are fully self-contained units that would be replaced every three months. No odor is released during the replacement process, Baksa said.

“I love this idea,” said John Bowen, member of the planning committee. “I love the idea that it doesn’t fog up.”

Baksa is asking the planning committee to approve three greenhouse buildings, each 9,900 square feet, on a 25-acre lot at Medeiros Way and Timberswamp Road. He plans to start building a greenhouse. The other two would follow as the business grows and would require separate approval from the state Cannabis Control Commission.

“This full build out will likely take place over a five year period,” said Michael Schafer, an engineer at Huntley Associates of Northampton.

Lucky 7 will grow marijuana plants for sale to commercial customers such as retail pharmacies and cannabis product manufacturers. There will be no on-site retail outlets and Lucky 7 is not directly affiliated with any retailer.

In accordance with state laws regulating the cannabis industry, the site will be fenced and restricted to those over the age of 21. There will be no signage to indicate that it is a cannabis grower and although the greenhouses will have glass roofs, the walls are prohibited from having windows.

“It’s going to be a really plain looking building,” Schafer said. “We will have privacy fences. You won’t be able to see much. … Honestly, it’s going to look like a warehouse.”

Baksa said his company will differentiate itself from other growers in its commitment to organic, sustainable techniques. The plants are grown indoors, but in soil beds that mimic a natural garden, with compost as fertilizer and no artificial pesticides.

“We leave our dirt exactly as it is,” Baksa said. “There are worms and other microbes that break down the dirt.”

Using a sustainable process—rather than trucking in regularly treated soil—also means plants require less water. He said each greenhouse will use about 1,000 gallons of water per day during the growing season, which he described as the equivalent of one hour’s output from a standard garden sprinkler. During the periods when the plants are not flowering, the water consumption will be even lower.

Planning committee chairman William Carellas warned Baksa that groundwater on the north side needs to be treated.

“Whatever you pull out of this well goes into this plant, and whatever you put into this plant goes into someone,” Carellas said.

Baksa said his testing showed that groundwater on his property contained pesticides, bacteria and metals, as well as perfluorinated compounds and perfluoroalkyl carboxylic acids — PFCs and PFCAs — which are types of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS. His business plan includes a filtration system to remove PFAS and other contaminants from water before it reaches the facilities, as well as testing.

Planning committee member Robert Goyette Jr. said Lucky 7 may not be eligible to drill a well on properties served by city water lines. Baksa said he thinks he can get an exemption from the Ministry of Water because plant cultivation is considered industrial use, but he is willing to connect to the city water if forced to do so. Westfield’s water supply is already filtered for PFAS, but Baksa said he needs to install a different filtration system to remove the chlorine and other sanitizing chemicals added during the town’s treatment process.

“I would prefer the well, but it’s not a deal-breaker,” Baksa said.

Regardless of which water source is used for the growing operations, the buildings will source public water for the staff restrooms.

North Side resident Maria Lankowski commended Lucky 7 for its environmental commitments on a night that hosted its other two public planning committee hearings on businesses considered by many neighbors to add truck traffic and noise to the area or be potentially harmful to wetlands were viewed.

“I’m all for having something like this and being as environmentally conscious as you are,” Lankowski said.

Lucky 7 also presented a stormwater management plan, but planning committee members said they wanted expert opinion from city officials before voting on it. The planning committee voted to continue the public hearing until its July 19 meeting.

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