They warned the Lynn City Council that they would sue if it approved a recreational marijuana shop at 829A Boston St., site of the former O’Brien’s Pub and Saugus officials did just that by filing an appeal in Land Court.
At issue is what part of the property is in Lynn and what portion is in Saugus. Part of the parking lot, used for decades by the restaurant is in Saugus. However, the retail store will be located in Lynn as will parking for the store.
“My client’s shop and parking are in Lynn,” said attorney Sam Vitali, who represents Massachusetts Green Retail. “The parcel (27,000 square feet) encumbers a large amount of land part Lynn part Saugus. For years the restaurant that was there has used the back part of the lot for parking and no one has had a complaint about.”
According to the appeal, Saugus claims that Massachusetts Green Retail did not address vehicular or pedestrian activity on Boston Street in Lynn that moves into Saugus and has not addressed prohibiting parking in Saugus
To complicate matters the town of Saugus, like the city of Revere, voted against the statewide 2016 referendum question allowing recreational marijuana in Massachusetts. Because of that, they were both allowed to vote to prohibit recreational pot shops within their boundaries.
Vitali said his client was well vetted by the city of Lynn through the Cannabis Site Plan Review Committee, the Office of Economic Development and community outreach meetings including abutters. He said Saugus participated, including Board of Selectmen Chairman Debra Panetta.
“I think ultimately we’re going to go ahead with our renovations to the retail facility, and proceed at out peril,” Vitali said. “Unfortunately for Saugus this is the city of Lynn and the building is in the city of Lynn. The special permit was granted by the city fathers of Lynn just like they did in Melrose a mile and a half from the other side of Saugus.”
Vitali is no stranger to lawsuits against pot shops. He said when he represented a medical marijuana facility on the Lynnway there was an immediate appeal filed from an abutter. It was ultimately dismissed.
Vitali said despite the suit his client still intends renovation plans and moving forward with the Cannabis Control Commission for final approval. He expects there will be a motion filed to dismiss this appeal as quickly as possible.
“They just don’t want marijuana in Saugus and there won’t be,” Vitali said. “I expect many people from the town of Saugus will travel to Lynn to that location.”