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Neighbors of Brookline Pot Shop Upset by Public Urination, Other Incidents

For Sloan Furniss, there is little relief in the constant flow of men relieving themselves in her driveway.

"I really can't avoid seeing it, and it has really become a constant part of my life," Furniss said Friday night.

For Furniss and her neighbors, the problems started in March, when NETA Brookline became the first recreational pot shot in the immediate vicinity of Boston.

"It got overwhelming," said Dan Saltzman. "We had thousands of people coming into our neighborhood."

Since it opened, residents have started a lively email chain, exchanging pictures, including ones that they say show men going to the bathroom in their yards, as well as illegal parking and public consumption.

"Several times a week, there is someone smoking pot in front of my house," Anna Otero said.

Saltzman says he has his own horror stories.

"My wife walked out of house with our kids going to a soccer game, and there is this guy peeing in the bushes, and it's like, how many times does that have to happen?" Saltzman said.

NETA's president says the company continues to be receptive to community input. NETA has added more bathrooms for those waiting in line, and have hired Brookline Police officers to work details in and around the busy shop.

"Bathroom accessibility is not an issue here," Amanda Rositano, NETA's president, said Friday. "There is a lot going on in Brookline Village. There is a lot of new development. There is a lot of construction happening, new projects going on, so I think there is a lot of activity in the neighborhood, and it's easy to point a finger at NETA, but I think there are other reasons that are impacts in the neighborhood, as well."

Heather Hamilton sits on the Brookline Select Board and has heard the complaints.

"It is difficult, there are a lot of unknowns. We have learned a lot since we granted them the license," Hamilton said. "There is more volume than anyone anticipated."

Hamilton also says the Cannabis Control Commission has been slow to roll out other permits, leading to longer lines at NETA's Brookline location.

"We need to see other stores opening in Boston and the surrounding communities so that we can really best judge how much traffic and volume we are going to see over the long term," Hamilton said. "We are definitely listening and we are trying to find a happy medium."

NETA says it continues to be receptive to change. Starting next month, the store will close two hours earlier, at 8 p.m., after neighbors complained about the late-night crowds.

"We take all of their concerns seriously," Rositano said. "We would never say they are not real. I think everyone has had their own experience as to what is going on. We have definitely heard from neighbors that don't have any concerns about our operation that live right here."

But on White Place, behind NETA's store, frustration remains.

"Is it happening every single day? To every person? Of course not, but when was the last time someone peed on your bushes? It is not something we want to live around," Saltzman said.

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