LYNN, Mass. - A proposal for a new recreational marijuana shop in Lynn that would be located right on the Saugus town line is running into resistance after the neighboring city of Saugus filed a lawsuit to put a stop to it.
The proposed location, in the former O'Briens Pub at 829 Boston St. is in Lynn, but the building's parking lot is in Saugus, where recreational marijuana stores are prohibited.
The Lynn City Council approved a special permit last month that allows the store to move into the building it will share with a pizza shop, but the city of Saugus has filed a lawsuit against the council in Land court to stop it, according to a report in the Lynn Daily Item.
The city argues most of the parking spaces, part of the building and an existing dumpster are all in Saugus, and that the store never addressed pedestrian or vehicle traffic along Boston Street in Lynn, which then continues as Lincoln Avenue in Saugus.
The lawsuit alleges the store has not made assurances that parking will not be taking place in Saugus.
In 2016, Saugus voted against allowing recreational marijuana stores in the city.
An attorney for the city of Lynn claims that despite the parking lot being located in Saugus, the retail store and customer parking are in Lynn.
Saugus sent Boston 25 News the following statement:
"As elected representatives of the Town of Saugus, we do our best to act and speak on behalf of our residents and community. In 2016, the majority of Saugus voters voiced their opposition to legalizing marijuana in Massachusetts by voting down Question 4 on the Presidential Election ballot. In that same election, the following nearby communities also voted against legalizing marijuana: Revere, Wakefield, Reading, Everett, Stoneham, North Reading, Lynnfield, Winchester, Peabody, Danvers, and others. Last May, Town Meeting members in Saugus advanced the wishes of the Saugus voters by voting unanimously to ban recreational marijuana establishments from operating anywhere in the Town of Saugus. One of the responsibilities of an elected official is to carry out the wishes of constituents, protect the Town, and act in the best interest of Saugus.
The people of Saugus have continuously spoken and expressed their opposition to allowing recreational marijuana establishments into our community. Furthermore, an elected Saugus Town Meeting member has proposed an additional bylaw change on the Annual Town Meeting to be considered regarding the use of marijuana in Saugus.
The proposed retail recreational marijuana facility that was recently approved has a portion of the building, one-third of the deck, most of the parking spaces, and the existing dumpster, geographically located in Saugus. The Saugus portion of the site sits in an industrial district under the Saugus zoning bylaw. Under the applicable section of the Saugus zoning bylaw, recreational cannabis establishments are explicitly prohibited in every zoning district in Saugus. This retail recreational marijuana proposed use will generate substantial traffic congestion and safety hazards on Lincoln Avenue, Hamilton Street, and other frequently-traveled roadways in Saugus. It is important to note that the Board of Selectmen are the traffic commissioners in Saugus. The site contains inadequate parking and space to maneuver around the existing parking lot. There are no measures in place for limiting the proposed use and parking to Lynn and not in Saugus. Unfortunately, because a portion of the building and parking lot is located in Saugus and the proposed use is in direct conflict with the Saugus bylaws, the inadequate parking, the unavoidable increase in traffic congestion at an already busy roadway, and a lack of an overall plan, the Town of Saugus is left with limited options."
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