Members of the Hopewell Township Committee this month approved a resolution in support of Stone Hill Manufacturing as the company applies for cannabis cultivation and manufacturing licenses from the state.
Mayor Julie Blake, Deputy Mayor Courtney Peters-Manning, Township Committee Member Kristin McLaughlin, Township Committee Member Kevin Kuchinski, and Township Committee Member Michael Ruger all voted “yes” to the resolution at the township committee meeting on December 6th.
The resolution of support shows that Stone Hill Manufacturing, LLC’s application is in the number of applications approved by the community and would operate in a zone that permits the cultivation and manufacture of cannabis. If the permits for cultivation and production are granted by the land, the planning committee still has to review and approve a site plan for the project.
“We are in the process of applying to the state for Class 1 cultivation licenses and Class 2 production licenses. These proposals will be accepted by the state on December 15th and we have been working on them for over two years, ”said Rob Piasio, Executive Chairman of Stone Hill. “As part of our application, we have to obtain a resolution from our host community, essentially to the effect that our project complies with local regulations.”
Hopewell Township only allows one cannabis business in the township. A single company or business holding both cultivation and manufacturing licenses is allowed as long as both are in the same location.
“If they didn’t get the license from the state, we’d still have that license for another company,” said Blake.
In a presentation to the Township Committee, Piasio, who also lives in Hopewell, said the proposed location for the facility is 147 Washington Crossing-Pennington Road.
The site would be across from the township building and Hopewell Township Police Department.
“Many of you may know it as the high courtyard. It’s a 135 acre property. Our facility plans an area of 5 hectares, ”he said. One of the questions is, why do we need 135 hectares when we’re building a 5 hectare facility? There are few reasons for this, for one thing the city deliberately enacted one of the strictest regulations in the whole country to protect our community from harassment, and of course we intend to comply with all regulations. “
With a footprint of 5 acres on the 135-acre property, Stone Hill offers a large buffer around the facility to reduce potential disruptive factors, the presentation said.
The company will deploy Dutch Venlo-style greenhouse technology and plan to build a fully automated, fully automated greenhouse in Venlo, the Netherlands.
Addressing concerns about light pollution in greenhouses, Piasio emphasized that they would not have light all night and would not provide additional light to the greenhouse portion of the facility in the evening.
“The reason for this is that our plants are young and growing. They’re located inside the facility and exposed to constant light in their youth, but it’s indoors so the light pollution doesn’t exist, ”he said.
“As the plants mature, they are taken to the greenhouse area to flower and, as part of the process, to encourage them to flower, they are deprived of light from entering the plant.”
During the presentation, Stone Hill explained that odor control is completely manageable and a technical and cost problem, and also pointed out that the initial water consumption is caused by rain or snowmelt.
“We are committed to advanced filter and charcoal filtration that remove odors from the facility so that they do not affect the community in any way,” said Piasio. “The system will draw water from the rainwater collection from the greenhouse roofs, which will then be used to irrigate the system’s plants.”
When asked by Ruger for an idea of the type of traffic that could be expected from a facility like the one featured by Stone Hill, Stone Hill representatives said the delivery volume would typically be one truck per week with media like earth type materials and no more than 100 full-time employees would be expected at the location.
In addition, Peters-Manning spoke to concerns from farmers in the community about pollen control and cannabis pollen storage at the Stone Hill facility.
Stone Hill said no viable pollen was leaving the facility and they were not breeders. If there were to be breeding, it would take place in a small 100 square meter room with triple filtration and different uniforms for incoming and outgoing staff, the representatives said.
Piasio suggested that Stone Hill actively work with conservation organizations and community officials on the possibility of donating the northern portion of Hoch Farm, a 65-acre property, as a public space and park.