Tremont Street Dispensary gets ‘no’ vote at CAMH meeting

By Michael Coughlin Jr.

During its monthly meeting in May, the Community Alliance of Mission Hill (CAMH) overwhelmingly voted in opposition to a proposed dispensary at 1576 Tremont Street called Soni DOT.

In April, Aditya Soni went before CAMH to present his vision for the proposed dispensary, which was covered in the last edition of the Mission Hill Gazette —

April’s meeting featured some trepidation from those in attendance due to concerns stemming from the operation of the previous business at the site — Punjab Mini Mart — which was owned by Soni’s father, Rakesh Soni, potential impacts on the Mission Grammar School, and more which were detailed thoroughly in last month’s paper.

Fast-forward to the May meeting, and Soni returned to CAMH to provide updates and answer residents’ questions.

In terms of updates, Soni indicated that they had met with Mission Grammar School. “We spoke in detail about the pick-up and drop-off times around the school and regarding traffic and how that might interact with the dispensary being right around the corner,” said Soni.

“So we talked about ways we could mitigate taking in orders at that time to potentially help with addressing that.”

Soni also indicated that there was a discussion about supporting the school like other businesses in the area do, whether monetarily or through events, and that they would work with the school on that topic in the future.

Finally, the school’s planned extension was also discussed, and Soni mentioned that it would be factored into the dispensary project.

Soni also addressed concerns a community member raised regarding a property his father owned at 36 Cherokee Street.

“In discussing that with my father, I understand that as of today, all enforcement violations that have been raised have been either paid or appealed,” said Soni.

He also indicated that there were concerns about the proposed business’s potential responsiveness and said, “I can assure you that if any of you guys have any other concerns that might come up in the future, you can always reach out to me.”

Soni also attempted to quell confusion surrounding the business’s structure and explained that Soni DOT LLC would be a “single manager, manager run LLC,” meaning that he would be the manager, the only one with the authority to sign contracts with the business day-to-day, and would be responsible for running a safe and secure facility in compliance with regulations.

“My parents, Rakesh and Aditi, will be members, and they’ll have a financial interest in the business but only participate in significant corporate transactions such as entering a construction financing agreement or things similar to that,” said Soni.

Following the brief presentation, attendees could ask some questions before the proposal went to a vote.

One attendee had a question about the business safely and effectively taking in deliveries, considering the storefront’s location.

Soni indicated that the deliveries would be made through an alley shared by the property and the Subway next door.

“They come in very discrete like sprinter vans. We’ve got two or three boxes max, so they’re quickly in and out; they don’t try to put any type of packaging or branding on it, so it is all very secure and quick,” said Soni.

It was also mentioned that the business must submit security plans to the Cannabis Control Commission. There are plans for cameras, and there is an obligation to report any incidents to the police immediately.

Another resident commented that he had heard that the proponents met with Mission Grammar School but that they opposed the project and wanted to know about the outcome of the meeting from the proponent’s perspective.

It was indicated that CAMH was copied on an email concerning the school’s stance and that the proponents did not receive a final indication.

Finally, the same resident who asked about the meeting with the school asked about the shared alley in relation to reaction from direct abutters and mentioned that at the last meeting, there were indications that the direct abutters on either side of the property were not in support.

In response, Soni spoke about the shared alley and mentioned that his father owns the Subway portion of the building next door, and the people who rent it out from him are supportive of the project.

Ultimately, when the proposal went to a vote, those in attendance opposed the project by a vote of 18-2, with one voter abstaining.

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