Mr. Lally noted that the company has hired a traffic management firm to try to resolve some of the problems. Forty more parking spaces have been added to the existing 150 spots at Everlast Nursery’s lot, where customers pick up shuttle vans and a ticket and are transported to the store.
Still, of approximately 75 residents who turned out for Monday’s meeting, only a handful had positive things to say about the new business.
Residents spoke of people throwing trash on their lawns, urinating in shrubbery on their property and traffic tie-ups that made it difficult to get in and out of their driveways.
Some residents felt hassled by police officers when trying to access roads to their homes; others did not think it fair they should be rerouted in and out of their neighborhoods.
Chief Hurley said he didn’t expect the situation to continue to this degree for much longer as other communities in the state begin to get permits to operate pot shops.
“We’re looking for short-term fixes to get through this period,” he said. “But there is no magic fix that we see.”
The police chief said that in addition to customers, police are seeing “cannabis tourism” – people interested in seeing what is going on.
In response to questions, he said that Cultivate is paying for three police officers working 36 hours, lights and cruisers at a rate of $2,255 on Monday and about $3,245 on weekend days.
Leicester Town Administrator David A. Genereux, in an earlier interview Monday, said the cost of all police details assigned to the store is to be picked up by Cultivate, with the town getting a 10 percent surcharge for the billing. “None of this is costing Leicester anything,” he said, and taking the surcharge into consideration, “I figure we’ll be making a little on it.”
Police from Spencer have also worked paid details at the pot store. “It got crazy after Thanksgiving,” Mr. Genereux said.
Last night, several suggestions were made by the public to “speed up” transactions inside the business.
Having people order online beforehand, designating an “express lane” for edibles, and posting updates about wait times were a few of the ideas.
Neighbors repeatedly expressed aggravation over other issues, including music blaring from cars, strangers walking up and down near their homes and speeding shuttle vans.
“I feel your frustration,” Mr. Lally said, adding that he would continue to work with law enforcement and the traffic management company to devise ways to make the process more orderly.
But some residents said their attempts to have any communication with Cultivate representatives had failed.
Dawn Gauthier said it is like “living in a fishbowl,” with her driveway blocked by cars and vans “racing up the road like they own it, 12 hours a day, seven days a week.”
Another resident said he would put his house up for sale in January if the situation continues.