SOUTH PORTLAND — The Planning Board Wednesday night approved the city’s first recreational marijuana retail shop.
The action allows SeaWeed Co. owner Scott Howard, a Pownal resident, to begin construction of a nearly 3,300-square-foot building at 185 Running Hill Road, near the intersection with Cummings Road.
Howard can’t operate the business, however until the state adopts final implementation requirements and provides necessary permitting.
Howard’s application was approved just a day after the city’s ordinance amendments regulating the licensing and zoning of marijuana retail businesses, adopted last month, became effective.
After board member Mary DeRose expressed concern about a couple of undocumented historic burial sites nearby, the Planning Board added a condition of approval that a pre-construction meeting with the city wouldn’t be scheduled until Howard consults the South Portland Historical Society and Maine Historic Preservation Commission.
Community Planner Steve Puleo said if the burial sites are confirmed, state law may require erecting a historic marker.
After business permits are obtained, Howard said, the shop will offer “whatever’s out there” in terms of recreational marijuana products, including edibles, flower, or concentrated products.
Although product consumption won’t be allowed on the premises, Howard said SeaWeed Co. will be a “comfortable space for the community to gather.”
The 4.3-acre property is undeveloped, and mostly covered by freshwater wetlands and 30,000 square feet of gravel. The interior of the building will include a vaulted wood ceiling with tall west-facing windows overlooking an expansive rear deck to “invite the outdoors into the retail experience,” according to Howard.
“This project is one that was intended to blend the building in with the surrounding environment,” Puleo said.
Howard noted the site could also accommodate parking for food trucks during warmer months.
“We’re focusing on building some community and creating a space where we can host some (educational or fundraising) events to engage with the community,” he said.
Howard said the plans have been ready for about nine months, while waiting for the city to finalize its policies.
“It’s been a long road and we still have a long road ahead of us,” he said. “But we feel great that now we can move forward with building.”
The South Portland Planning Board on Jan. 9 unanimously approved construction of the city’s first recreational marijuana store, SeaWeed Co., at 185 Running Hill Road.