Residents who live above Hoboken’s Hudson Tavern, a defunct bar, are coming out against the cannabis dispensary plan that has received preliminary approval from the city’s cannabis review board.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
“We believe there are serious drawbacks to putting an adult Recreational Cannabis Dispensary that will operate 13 hours a day in a building where children and families live,” said Leslie Bradley, a resident of 51-53 14th Street.
“I caution the city council to be cognizant of the fact that what they are doing here on 14th Street will be precedent setting for the entire city. Once they allow marijuana retail and storage facilities in our building; what’s to stop other cannabis business from moving into similar buildings in similar neighborhoods.”
The proposal cleared the cannabis review board unanimously (3-0) at the end of February, with the meeting spanning five hours as dozens of residents spoke out against it – citing the potential for violent crime, a decrease in property values, and an opaque process.
“Obviously Story plans on marketing its products to a wide-ranging geographic area, that includes New York City and our neighboring municipalities, many of which are not allowing recreational dispensaries. We will see hundreds, if not a thousand strangers a day coming in to our neighborhood and building,” added Michael Alicastro, who lives in the building with his wife Danielle and their two children.
“If anyone in City Hall thinks that type of business fits the C-3 definition and the associated traffic is not going to have a negative impact on the community’s quality of life, they are not paying attention.”
The situation has put Mayor Ravi Bhalla and 2nd Ward Councilwoman Tiffanie Fisher, who represents the ward where the dispensary would be located, at odds, with Fisher opposing the concept and Bhalla defending it.
However, they both agreed some common sense regulations should be in order, a couple of which the council approved at their March 23rd meeting: prohibiting all smoking in parks and preventing cannabis licenses being granted at Marine View, as HCV first reported.
At the same meeting, Bradley asked the council members to voice their opposition to the project, which Mike DeFusco, Fisher, Ramos, and Jen Giattino did.
A third measure is on the agenda for Wednesday’s council meeting, which would not permit cannabis dispensaries in C-3 zones, require a minimum of 500 feet between cannabis businesses, at least 600 feet between school, and no grandfathering clause.
“There was little to no public input for the change in zone, nor a reason why the city chose to rezone our neighborhood,” added Edward Graham.
“This pot shop would not be catering to community needs and it would be a very intense use, generating a lot of traffic.”
The project must clear the planning board before heading to the council for final approval.
The council meeting convenes at 7 p.m. Wednesday evening, their first meeting since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic where public participation will be in person.