Selectmen approve CommCan Host Agreement 3-1; Kolenda asks to vote on rescinding letter of non-opposition

by beth on April 28, 2016

On Monday night, selectmen had a civil but tense discussion on the Medical Marijuana Dispensary planned for 255 Turnpike Road. In the end, the draft Host Agreement with CommCan, Inc. was approved 3-1. What was left unclear is whether the board will consider rescinding the letter of non-opposition allowing the dispensary to operate.

The Host Agreement negotiated by Chair John Rooney and Selectman Brian Shea was scheduled for a vote. Selectman Dan Kolenda opened the discussion by saying he had suggested changes. But before discussing them he wanted to consider rescinding the letter of non-opposition the board granted in early February.

The selectman was out of the country when the original vote was made. He suggested that Town Meeting’s overwhelming support to zone the dispensary further from schools was reason to revisit it.

Rooney ruled that they couldn’t discuss the letter since it wasn’t on the agenda. He was against scheduling, but didn’t outright deny the request. Whether or not it would be put on a future agenda was left in the air.

The fact that Kolenda submitted changes to the Host Agreement hours before the meeting was a bone of contention between Kolenda and the Chair. Kolenda said that whenever he gave comments, they couldn’t be discussed until the meeting. He suggested putting the vote off for two weeks to allow the board to review.

In the midst of the discussion, selectmen Paul Cimino sought to clarify that the agreement was separate from the question of whether the dispensary should operate or not. 

Cimino said that the vote should be based on having the best agreement in place if it does open. He reminded that the applicant have volunteered to make a host agreement with “very generous” monetary advantages. He supported approving it rather than risk the applicant pulling back the offer.

Kolenda and Shea reminded that the Zoning Board of Appeals permit conditioned reaching an agreement with selectmen.

Kolenda stressed that “every single change [he requested] was done for a reason, not to delay”. Only one of those changes was specified Monday night.

The selectman claimed that a loophole in a renegotiation clause could allow the agreement to go on in perpetuity. Shea pointed out that a later clause allows the board to terminate it at any time. Selectmen perceive that termination of the agreement would put the dispensary out of compliance with their permit.

Rooney, who appeared to have reviewed Kolenda’s comments, claimed that all the requests had been raised at the last meeting and addressed in negotiations since with the applicant. But “there were certain things we could not negotiate with them.”

Kolenda asked if the applicants willing to walk away if they don’t get this agreement. Rooney couldn’t answer that. But he wouldn’t agree to go back with new comments after three earlier renegotiations. Rooney, Shea and Cimino out voted Kolenda to approve the agreement. (Selectwoman Bonnie Phaneuf was absent.)

1 Kolenda Absenteeism April 28, 2016 at 6:44 PM

Dan Kolenda is the worst Selectmen this town has had in the near twenty-plus years I have lived in this community. And worst School Committee member for that matter. Why?

He is always absent. His commitment is 50/50 at best. His commitment to this community is subpar of what a Selectmen should be. And he misses at least half of the Annual Town Meetings too. He’s never there for night 2 or night 3. Im not sure he ever showed up a couple years ago.

He has had weeks, if not, months to offer his opinions on these matters and here he flies in at the 17th hour to try and be the hero for the Clifford Road residents. Their bylaw will be rejected by the Attorney General and in a few years everyone will realize this was a bunch of NIMBY-ism residents who have had little to worry about. Their children will be excellent children with a bright future.

I wonder if someone can actually count up the official tally of Mr. Kolenda and his attendance record for the public to show his lack of commitment? Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate anyone who volunteers and commend him for stepping up to the plate. I have no doubt he got into this for good reasons and would like to support all volunteers. But if he is absent this often, why not just get out of the way and leave the seat open for others to run. Sure, they could run against him, but he’s an incumbent in a hugely passive town with kids in the schools. Tough to beat. But with such a poor dedication to his responsibilities, just resign and give someone else a chance. If work is in the way, well, that stinks. But maybe this isn’t right for you at this time. And I’m good with missing meetings here and there. We all have a lot of responsibility. But The Town didn’t vote to have four Selectmen, they voted for five. And he just seems to miss way too many meetings and has no real role. He never makes presentations at TM like the rest of our BOS members. They all seem to have projects they speaks to?

This is in stark contrast the other four Selectmen who I think spend an incredible amount of time dedicated to this community. Mr. Rooney is always part of negotiations and spending extra hours on matters, Ms. Phaneauf attends community meetings seemingly everywhere Ive ever been (and missed a rare meeting this week), Mr. Shea seems to have been very dedicated the last year and has led several key projects and Mr Cimino – who just had a heart surgery – reappeared within a week to show up for Selectmen meetings and other community meetings. Very impressive, even if I hope he got the rest he needs. Mr. Cimino is heavily involved.

Mr. Kolenda is nowhere to be found. Ever. The Selectmen were right to pass him on by. The Selectmen negotiated a good deal agreement for this community.

Over the full two terms Mr. Kolenda has been on the Board and SC, I wonder what his attendance records are? I bet 50/50 at best for attendance with zero commitment to any other projects. He’s a follower, not a leader.

2 Tim Martel April 29, 2016 at 9:33 AM

Honestly, I really can’t give your post any credibility whatsoever when you’re choosing to publicly lambast one of our Selectmen from an anonymous account.

That said, I will offer the following. Whether you agree with his policies or not, it is ludicrous to question his dedication. The man is a military veteran with ongoing commitments to our Nation. He offers his time on multiple Town boards. He has a job. He has a family. His kids are active in sports, and he is part of that. You should be lauding him for his service to this community.

3 em April 29, 2016 at 11:49 AM

I can’t speak to the frequency with which Mr. Kolenda attends meetings. I simply do not know. However if he, or any board member, is absent and misses a vote, there are consequences to that. In this case, Mr. Kolenda’s absence means his concerns are not included and his vote is not counted. There should be no re-consideration. I’m sure Mr. Kolenda and other board members, when they have scheduling conflicts, make a judgment call about which commitment is more important. We should accept board members’ decisions on how to spend their time. That said, there are consequences to choosing something else over a BOS discussion and vote, namely not getting one’s comments and votes on the record.

As for a pattern of such behavior, I reiterate that I have no idea of the pattern of Mr. Kolenda’s or any other board member’s attendance. Hypothetically, I would offer the following. If there, for any board member, is a pattern of other commitments being chosen over board duties, voters have the right (and in my mind, should exercise that right) to choose a candidate who places board responsibilities higher on their priority list.

4 concerned_resident May 1, 2016 at 1:54 PM

Good citizens of Southborough,

having found my soap box, let me chime in by making a couple non-solicited comments regarding the Med Marijuana Dispensory and related issues:

1. A MMD will ultimately be approved at some location in town, and will be monitored in compliance with regulations, 105 Code of Mass Regs 725.000. Google and peruse the regs; very thorough indeed. all of the critical issues that SB or any community could be concerned with have been carefully enumerated. What is not defined in quantifiable detail are the catch all provisions that are the jurisdiction of each town. These details are minutia, including the precise terms of a Host Community Agreement. HCA relate primarily to how much $$$ will be donated to the town by the MMD non-profit organization (they are indeed defined ass non-profit).

so then …. this thread is about money, eh?

2. HCA details relate to “Show me the money! or else!”

“from article above:
Cimino … reminded that the applicant have volunteered to make a host agreement with “very generous” monetary advantages. He supported approving it rather than risk the applicant pulling back the offer.

Kolenda and Shea reminded that the Zoning Board of Appeals permit conditioned reaching an agreement with selectmen. Kolenda stressed that “every single change [he requested] was done for a reason, not to delay”. The selectman [Kolenda] claimed that a loophole in a renegotiation clause could allow the agreement to go on in perpetuity. Shea pointed out that a later clause allows the board to terminate it at any time. Selectmen perceive that termination of the agreement would put the dispensary out of compliance with their permit”

* Kolenda is right to raise his voice if any confusion exists in the language of the HCA that might hurt the town. I mean, “better safe than sorry”, “devil in the details”, “we need tax dollars” — take your pick of axioms.
* No, the MMD applicant will NOT pull the plug on its appln or prior negotiated stance. They want to make … wait for it…. money. So nothing is in jeopardy of being scrapped because there is a two week delay to iron out revenue sharing details, Selectman Kolenda is right in this instance. let’s not adopt a “Ready, Fire, Aim” approach (though i do agree that Rooney, Cimino and Shea have been fantastic in crafting a strong HCA), lets take one more review, thats all.

final comments:
* be mindful of NIMBY arguments. Alas somebody has to be the one(s) who live in close proximity to the MMD. separate NIMBY motives from bona fide motive. (personally i would set up a snack food stand if i live nearby…. LOL. again its all about the $$$, er, i mean providing medication to local patients)

* as an aside town liability due to public citizen injury is a weak concern. smoke but not fire…. (simply swap out marijuana from such a liability claims for alcohol and then cross reference how many communities have been held liable for intoxicated drivers coming out of town licensed liquor stores … anywhere in MA)

got to go, my soap box tipped over…..,

5 concerned_resident May 1, 2016 at 3:16 PM

Addendum to ‘concerned_resident’ post ….

a copy of the DRAFT Host Community Agreement can be found at this link:
pages 6 – 13 of 54 page document

http://www.southboroughtown.com/sites/southboroughma/files/agendas/selectmens_4-25-16_agenda_packet.pdf

key revenue sharing provision is on page 10 of document – section 12 of HCA.
After 3 years, the partie (MMD and town) have an opportunity to demand / negotiate a more equitable revenue sharing plan based upon revenue being paid by MMDs in other communities. nice!

6 beth May 1, 2016 at 4:49 PM

Your comment points out that I forgot to include another link to the agreement in the post. You can click here to see the full draft agreement, without the other items in the agenda packet.

And you can click here to read my summary of the financial details of the deal.

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