With more guidance, Stanhope may reconsider cannabis ban, mayor says

Stanhope. Officials also discussed developing a shade tree ordinance because the borough’s tree inventory is challenged due to natural disasters, aging, and disease.

| 18 Jul 2021 | 10:01

Stanhope Mayor Patricia Zdichocki said at a public hearing on July 13 that the township is not opposed to the operation of cannabis businesses forever. They are open to information and need more guidance, she said, and there isn’t enough time to evaluate everything.

The Stanhope Council passed an ordinance prohibiting the operation of any class of cannabis business within the borough. The vote was 4-2, with Councilmen Anthony Riccardi and Gene Wronko voting against the ban.

At the hearing, one resident encouraged the council to re-evaluate the ordinance once more information is available. He noted that the Cannabis Regulatory Commission has public meetings on Zoom.

The New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Enforcement Assistance Marketplace Modernization Act has created classes of commercial licenses for cultivators, manufacturers, wholesalers, distributors, retailers, and delivery services.

Municipalities have 180 days either to prohibit or allow some or none of these licenses. Approved licenses will remain valid for a five-year commitment period. Another 180-day review window follows after five years, when municipalities may again decide whether to prohibit licenses or add them.

Salaries: The council unanimously passed an ordinance fixing the salary and wages for borough employees and officials. The annual salary for the code enforcement/housing officer/zoning officer will be $25,000.
Body cameras: The council unanimously accepted funding from the New Jersey Department of Law and Public Safety for participation in a program that provides law enforcement agencies with funding to help buy body-worn cameras. Councilwoman Diana Kuncken said the grant is $18,342, and the police are wearing the cameras now.
American Rescue Plan: Administrator Brian McNeilly said the borough will receive $324,755 in two parts through the American Rescue Plan. It has already received around $173,000. McNeilly said unlike other municipalities, Stanhope did not have a revenue drop last year, and tax collection was higher in 2020 than in 2019. He said Byram will receive $780,000, Hopatcong $1.4 million, and Netcong $307,000.
Pedestrian Loop: The council unanimously awarded $10,000 to Bowman Consulting Group for construction services as the Pedestrian Loop Phase 2 project advances toward its target start date.
Road improvements: The council unanimously authorized advertising bids for Furnace Street, Kelly Place, and Waterloo Road improvements.
Fire drill: Kelly Place will be closed for a fire drill at 7 Kelly Place from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Aug. 29.
Shade tree ordinance: Officials discussed developing a shade tree ordinance because the borough’s tree inventory is challenged due to natural disasters, aging, and disease. Administrator McNeilly said even with a solid ordinance, the enforcement piece was very important.