Proposed Cannabis Cultivation Operation in Bennington
source: townnews.com

Proposed Cannabis Cultivation Operation in Bennington

The town of Bennington has taken a significant step towards embracing the cannabis industry. This week, the Development Review Board gave the green light for an indoor cannabis cultivation operation at 452 Morse Road. The unanimous decision came after a brief public hearing, marking a pivotal moment for the town’s industrial zone.

Nicholas Healy, a business owner from Niskayuna, New York, is spearheading this venture. Healy, along with his wife Virginia Johnson, owns HVA Farms, LLC. They are currently applying for a Tier 2 Vermont cannabis license, which permits up to 2,500 square feet of cannabis plant canopy. The state’s licensing program offers five tiers, with the highest tier allowing up to 10,000 square feet of cultivation area.

Healy brings a wealth of experience to the table, having worked with commercial cannabis operations in Connecticut and Massachusetts. He has also consulted on cannabis cultivation in New York. The proposed facility will not engage in retail sales, which would require a separate license. Instead, it will focus on selling processed cannabis to licensed retail operations.

The building at 452 Morse Road, a one-story, metal-sided structure, is situated across from Suburban Propane and Granite City Electric. It will be equipped with a security system featuring cameras to ensure safety. During the board meeting, resident Sam Restino raised concerns about potential cannabis odors. Healy assured that the building is “very well-insulated,” a crucial factor in mitigating odor issues. He also mentioned plans for equipment upgrades to enhance the existing air conditioning and circulation system.

Richard “Dixie” Zens, the building’s owner, vouched for the facility’s quality, describing it as “very well insulated” and “a great building.” Zens expressed confidence in Healy, noting his professionalism and experience. The building was previously used by Abacus Automation Inc., which has since relocated to a larger facility in the Shields Drive industrial park.

Healy revealed that there is potential for expansion within the building, which would necessitate applying for a higher-tier cannabis cultivation license. However, he emphasized that the Development Review Board’s approval is just the first step. No renovation work can commence until HVA Farms secures the Tier 2 cultivation license from the Vermont Cannabis Control Board.

The approval of this cannabis cultivation operation marks a new chapter for Bennington. It reflects the town’s willingness to explore new economic opportunities while adhering to regulatory standards. The project promises to bring a new dimension to the local industrial landscape, potentially paving the way for future expansions and developments in the cannabis sector.