After several deferments, the Boston Zoning Board of Appeals’ (ZBA) finally voted to grant a variance and conditional use permit to an adult use marijuana facility proposed for Maverick Square at last Tuesday’s hearing.
Owners of East Boston Bloom LLC, which include Luis Vasco, Steven Vasco, Nick Spagnola, and Julis Soko plan to open an adult use marijuana facility on the ground floor of a building owned by the Vasco family in Maverick Square.
However, because the ZBA approved an adult use facility on Meridian Street last year, East Boston Bloom needed a variance from the zoning board. While there is no state regulations of how close adult use facilities can be one another the City of Boston adopted zoning that created a half mile buffer and prohibits two facilities from being within that half mile.
Many, including City Councilor Lydia Edwards, went to bat for East Boston Bloom and supported the proposal because it met criteria for adult-use facilities in the neighborhood as well as being fully owned and operated by Eastie residents, one of whom is an Iraq War veteran.
All partners in East Boston Bloom from the Vascos to Spagnola and Soko are longtime Eastie residents with Luis Vasco being a celebrated business owner for the past 15 years in the community. Vasco and his family have run Taco Mex in the square without incident and the restaurant is a popular destination for thousands of residents. His son, Steven Vasco, is an Iraq War veteran and advocate for the use of marijuana for veterans suffering from PTSD.
Councilor Edwards said she was pleased the ZBA finally came around to give East Boston Bloom a shot in the neighborhood.
“I’m ready to move on and make sure East Boston’s gonna lead and show the rest of the city how we are going to deal with this new industry,” said Edwards. “There have promises made and we are going to make sure the business fulfills them.”
Edwards said East Boston Bloom agreed to an appointment system when they open to reduce the amount of vehicle traffic when they open. Many newly established adult use facilities like NETA in Brookline have adopted this strategy. This allows customers to order products through a phone app and receive a text when their order is ready. Once the order is ready the customer stops by the shop, shows their identification and order number and picks up their adult use products. This reduces the amount of time customers spend in the store and the entire transaction takes about 10 to 15 minutes.
Edwards added that the team also agreed to lessen its hours of operation and will significantly beautify Maverick Square.
Steven Vasco, who will run the day to day operations at East Boston Bloom said, “We are excited to get to the next phase of this project and we look forward to a smooth and controlled roll out, hopefully by early spring 2020.”
Vasco said there will be top notch state of the art security, a high level of professionalism, a floor plan that ensures access to the facility is by adults 21 years or older. There will be no advertising, flashy signs or the ability to see the product being sold from the street.