Letter to the Editor: On Cannabis and Equal Time

[Ed. Note – This letter from the Mayor and Village Board of Tarrytown is in response to a letter submitted by Tarrytown resident Peter Bartolacci. You can see Mr. Bartolacci’s letter HERE]

Last year, when considering the issue of “opting out” of NYS’s legalization of cannabis dispensaries, multiple information sessions and public hearings were held at Village Hall.  Notifications for all these meetings were posted in compliance with the law and announced repeatedly through the Village website and its e-newsletter, which is subscribed to by thousands of residents. Informed by these public sessions, discourse and presentations by experts, the Trustees adopted a local law on December 20, 2021, prohibiting places of cannabis consumption. No action was taken on dispensaries, aligning Tarrytown with NYS’s laws allowing such establishments.

State Law already prohibits cannabis establishments near schools, day care facilities and houses of worship. The Village prepared a map outlining the Retail Zones where dispensaries could potentially be placed and published it on the Village website.  This map illustrates how limited these locations are.  Cannabis users may find curated cannabis delivery here instead. Following public hearings that began October 17th 2022, on January 3, 2023, the Board adopted a local law amending the Village Zoning Code to require dispensary applications, including on Main St., to go through Planning Board site plan review so that issues of parking, capacity, signage and other impacts can be considered.  This is a stricter standard than for most other types of businesses looking to operate in Tarrytown.

Further, the Village adopted local laws that prohibit smoking of any substance in all parks, in all parking lots near our parks and on the waterfront.

In response to the suggestion that the Village allow unlimited speaking time to presenters at Trustee meetings, we believe that most readers who attend meetings of any kind will understand the challenge of this request. Presentation time is always limited to ensure that village work is completed during the Village Board’s regular business meetings. Moreover, speakers regularly make valuable, essential points within the 3-minute per person public comment timeframe – a timeframe that is common across municipalities, enabling many more voices to be heard. Written comments, which allow the public to go into greater depth if they so choose, are welcomed, reviewed by Trustees and added to the record.

The participation of Tarrytown residents in local government is essential and deeply valued by all at Village Hall. To stay informed of legislation, public hearings and much more, subscribe to our bi-monthly newsletter at www.tarrytownny.gov/subscribe.

Sincerely.

Mayor Karen Brown and Tarrytown Village Board of Trustees

 

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