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Greensburg medical marijuana dispensary closer to reality

Jacob Tierney
| Monday, Aug. 28, 2017, 9:51 p.m.
An artist's rendering of Greensburg's proposed medical marijuana dispensary.
WPXI
An artist's rendering of Greensburg's proposed medical marijuana dispensary.
Architect Ryan Croyle presents plans for a medical marijuana dispensary to the Greensburg Planning Commission on Monday.
Jacob Tierney | Tribune-Review
Architect Ryan Croyle presents plans for a medical marijuana dispensary to the Greensburg Planning Commission on Monday.

Greensburg officials say they're excited for a planned medical marijuana dispensary that has one more regulatory hurdle to clear before construction can begin at an East Pittsburgh Street site that was owned by the city until recently.

"It's going to be an economic driver for the city," said Planning Director Barbara Ciampini. "It's really amazing. It's going to be the only dispensary in Westmoreland County, so it's something to be proud of."

The city Planning Commission unanimously recommended the project for approval Monday, following similar action by the Historic and Architectural Review Board this month.

All that remains is city council approval, usually a formality in the permitting process.

Thomas Perko, founder and chief operating officer of Keystone Integrated Care, said he was surprised when he learned his company's dispensary would be the only one in Westmoreland County. Developers have updated their plans to account for expected increased demand.

"That was not what we anticipated, so we've been talking to the city in terms of sizing the facility and looking at some parking as well," he said.

Construction will begin as soon as city council gives approval, and the building is scheduled for completion by the end of the year, Perko said.

However, it will probably not begin operation until March, as it will take several months for Pennsylvania's first medical marijuana products to be grown, processed and inspected, he said.

The dispensary will employ between five and 10 people, Perko said.

The dispensary will be built on three adjacent lots. The city has owned one of them, at 303 E. Pittsburgh St., for about 15 years, Ciampini said. The vacant property once held a decrepit apartment building, which the city tore down.

Greensburg recently transferred the land to the Westmoreland County Land Bank in anticipation of the dispensary project.

The land bank will soon transfer the property to developers Blasier Urban LLC of Pittsburgh, which will build the dispensary for Keystone Integrated Care, Ciampini said.

Blasier and Keystone will not have to pay for the land, though they may pay some administrative fees, Ciampini said.

The two other lots contain empty houses, which will be demolished.

Planning commission members said they were in favor of the proposal.

"It's nice looking, it's a great addition," said commission Chairman David Kahley.

Commission members were concerned about pedestrian access, as sidewalks near the proposed dispensary are in bad repair.

Molly Blasier of Blasier Urban LLC told officials the sidewalks will be updated during construction.

The dispensary is one of 52 the state approved in June.

Keystone plans to build two other dispensaries in Allegheny and Butler counties.

Greensburg City Council will meet and discuss the plan Sept. 11.

Jacob Tierney is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-836-6646 or jtierney@tribweb.com.

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