Securing Zoning Approval for New Medical Marijuana Dispensary in Massachusetts

The Opportunity

SA was hired to help a developer obtain zoning board approval and the two-thirds vote required from the City Council to approve the rezoning and development of the building for a medical marijuana treatment center. The Greater Boston area real-estate developer was selected by the City of Revere to be the first licensee to operate as a medical marijuana location. The facility would include a 1,000 sq. ft. counseling space, a 1,500 sq. ft. retail center, an office/business area of roughly 2,000 sq. ft. and a grow space of approximately 39,200 sq. ft.  To proceed, the developer sought a special permit from the Revere City Council as well as from the Revere Zoning Board to increase the height of the building by 50 feet, which would accommodate the mechanical equipment required to run the operation. 

The Strategy

To win approval from the Zoning Board and City Council, SA developed a comprehensive message guide and conducted message training sessions to enable the developer and his partners to clearly articulate and promote the immediate and long-term benefits of the project to elected officials. Additionally, SA developed a media response protocol to address all inbound media inquiries from local newspapers, which were covering the medical marijuana story closely. The campaign included three informational sessions; 12, one-on-one briefing sessions with town officials; and three community information sessions plus neighborhood canvassing to educate residents about the facility.

The Result

Based on the approval of the Zoning Board and City Council, the developer won approval to redevelop the building to include any design within the additional 50 feet of the building’s original height. Additionally, the process SA led helped the developer and partners begin a host agreement conversation with the City of Revere, which was agreed upon in principle as of mid-2017. Schneider Associates has extensive expertise in commercial real estate marketing and public affairs, from permitting and zoning approval to fully integrated marketing plans for real estate developments.