Neighbors were stunned late on Wednesday when Compassionate Organics sent out a letter indicating it would go no further with its proposal for a marijuana dispensary at 633 Tremont St.
The news came in a statement from the company late in the afternoon Wednesday, and indicated that the City had informed them that the proposal was not going to be moving forward.
“While we believe that this location and space appropriately fit into the fabric of the neighborhood, unfortunately, Compassionate Organics has been informed by the City of Boston that it will not be moving forward in this process,” read the statement. “We very much look forward to the opening of our Newbury Street dispensary later this year, and will continue to search for locations to serve patients and customers, whether in Boston or beyond.”
While it was alluded to that the City had informed them the proposal couldn’t move forward, some in the neighborhood doubted that was the case. All along, the process has been clear in that the City was only the facilitator and any applicant had the right to apply to the Zoning Board. Compassionate Organics has yet to set a date at the Zoning Board, but its main competitor – Liberty Compassionates on Albany Street – is expected to have its date at the ZBA in late March. Liberty also just signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) and support with host association Blackstone Franklin Square Neighborhood Association.
The South End liaison, Faisa Sharif, did not immediately return a phone call seeking clarification on what action the City took.
Owner Geoff Reilinger didn’t return a phone call seeking comment or clarification.
The host association for the Tremont proposal, Pilot Block, has issued a letter of opposition to the proposal in the last few weeks, and Interim Secretary Nicola Truppin said they were pleased with the company withdrawing from the process.
“I’m extremely pleased with this,” she said. “We thought the zoning regulations are there to be upheld. We know when zoning boards make these decisions randomly, if people take them to court, many times these decisions are overturned…The most important thing is we stood our ground…We are glad they saw fit to withdraw…This was just not the right place and we’re glad they finally saw that.”
Some close to the process said it could be a situation where Liberty seemed to have the upper hand at the moment, and the investors in Compassionate Organics, from Chicago, might have pulled their support from the Tremont location.
Truppin and South End Forum Moderator Steve Fox said they were encouraged by the process that has used the MOU tool to negotiate with applicants – as was done by Blackstone last week. That was a process that Compassionate Organics and one neighborhood association stepped outside of in January, frustrating many in the neighborhood.
“The South End is a group of people who feel proprietary, with some 17 neighborhood associations, but on matters affecting the entire South End, many of them understand how important it is to preserve the integrity of the neighborhood,” said Truppin. “I think that (process) propelled and gave momentum to the 591 Albany St. proposal that allowed it to come in and maybe that set the stage for Compassionate Organics to withdraw.”
The statement by Reilinger said he appreciated the diligence of the community leaders, neighborhood groups and elected officials in considering their proposal.
“I am so proud to be a resident of this city and continue to be impressed by the commitment of people in our neighborhoods to engage with each other constructively on building a better community,” he wrote. “I hope to see some of you soon at the dog park.”
And that was the end of it.