Nelsonville moves towards ‘withdrawal’ from cannabis law

The discussion on short-term rental regulation continues

Nelsonville took action this week to “refuse” to allow cannabis retail stores and salons within its borders, following a municipal route already partly taken by Cold Spring and Philipstown.

At its monthly meeting on Monday, October 18, Nelsonville Village Council voted 4-0 to convene a public hearing on November 15 to allow residents to comment on the bill in which the village refuses to allow establishments to marijuana, a new form of business enterprise that was legalized in New York State earlier this year.

The Cold Spring Village Board of Directors voted this summer to put the issue to the Nov. 2 ballot, while Philipstown City Council continues to debate a draft resolution it plans to vote on by Dec. 31. Municipalities that will not withdraw by the end of the year automatically register and cannot change this position. But those who opt out can register later, giving them time to adjust zoning codes to cover cannabis businesses.

“Right now we intend, I believe, to step down,” Nelsonville Mayor Michael Bowman said, putting the bill on the table. He said after soliciting public comment on November 15, the board would vote in December. He also noted that citizens who wish to license marijuana establishments can collect signatures from voters to put the question on the ballot in the March village election.

Before tackling the cannabis store measurement and current affairs, the board held a public hearing on its latest bill to regulate short-term rentals (STRs), such as bedrooms and apartments. weekends and vacations organized via Airbnb. The board of directors has dealt with this issue on and off for several years.

The handful of residents who showed up included those on both sides of the issue.

Focusing on long-term tenants over an ever-changing flow of overnight visitors to the community, David Herman said “I much prefer to know who my neighbors are.”

Rudy Van Dommele, who operates Airbnb units, has constantly questioned the need for a law. “You are trying to fix something that is not yet a problem and that is just fear based,” he said.

Erin Muir criticized a provision in the bill limiting rentals to 100 days per year. “It seems so unfair,” she said.

A 100-day cap “would make it financially unsustainable for us,” added Ethan Timm. He likened various restrictions in the bill to an anti-automobile law. “I don’t like traffic, but we’re not saying we ban cars.”

Administrator Kathleen Maloney suggested that instead of a 100-day cap on rentals, the village limits the number of annual bookings, welcoming both STR owners and renters who wish to stay for weeks or months at a time.

“It’s something to discuss,” Bowman replied.

He said the council would continue to accept letters on the matter and refine the project, but that there were no plans for a vote in the immediate future.

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