Council Members Call For Removal of Proposed Cannabis Dispensary in Residential Hoboken Neighborhood

Hoboken Council Members Call for Proposed Dispensary in Densely Populated Residential Neighborhood to Withdraw Its Application
Hoboken, NJ (April 13th, 2022).  Hoboken City Council members are calling for a recreational cannabis applicant to withdraw its application for a dispensary proposed in the center of the most densely populated residential area of Hoboken, the site of the former Hudson Tavern.
In response to an outpouring of concerns about traffic, pedestrian safety, outdoor consumption by visitors and erosion of residential property values, the Hoboken City Council worked closely with the Bhalla administration and on April 6th passed Commonsense Cannabis Regulations to protect the quality of life of Hoboken residents while still supporting a cannabis marketplace.  The new laws cap the total number of dispensaries to six (6) and more clearly delineate residential areas where recreational cannabis dispensaries cannot be located.  The former Hudson Tavern site is located in one of these residential neighborhoods.
“My neighbors moved to this residential area because it was family friendly, quiet and close to the Hudson River waterfront walkway.  They did not move to a tourist destination and party zone which is feared what will happen if the Hudson Tavern dispensary moves forward.’ says 2nd Ward Councilwoman Tiffanie Fisher, whose ward is where the controversial proposed dispensary is located.  “We are asking that the dispensary operator and property owner rescind their application, respect the interests of the surrounding neighborhood and avoid what are expected to be continuous problems in the future.”
One of the changes in the Commonsense Cannabis Regulations was removing cannabis as conditional use in the recently created C-3 Neighborhood Commercial districts which were formerly residential zones.
“We rebranded certain densely populated, residential areas in 2019 as C-3 Neighborhood Commercial to make it easier for and attract businesses that were not previously permitted like the top-rated restaurant and fish market Tutta Pesce.  They ended up leaving Hoboken because the zoning was too costly and difficult.” says 4th Ward Councilman Ruben Ramos.  “Cannabis dispensaries were not the kind of business we intended in C-3 and our laws should never have been expanded to include these residential areas.  If a dispensary were proposed for a C-3 zone in my ward, my neighbors and I would equally oppose it.”
In Hoboken, the fourth most densely populated city in New Jersey, lines between residential and commercial and industrial areas are not as clearly defined as in other New Jersey towns governed by the state’s one-size-fits-all legislation.  The City Council will be voting on further amendments that will help protect other densely populated residential areas like Marine View Plaza, an affordable housing complex in Hoboken’s 1st Ward that is home to almost 400 families including many seniors and children.
“This is about finding the right balance in Hoboken between quality of life, social justice, and reducing taxes.” Says 1st Ward Councilman Mike DeFusco.  “Allowing cannabis dispensaries to be located at the base of residential towers makes little sense and is contrary to our state law which provides for dispensaries in commercial and industrial areas.”
Hoboken was one of the municipalities with the highest percentage of voters who favored legalization of marijuana and creating a cannabis marketplace.   Many of those same voters believe the actual sale of recreational cannabis should be in areas away from residential neighborhoods, schools and parks.
“We haven’t yet figured out what this means for today’s children and communities.” says 6th Ward Councilwoman Jen Giattino.  “And in a town with an increasing number of families and children, where we all share the same backyard, a more measured approach is what is needed.”
Story Dispensary of Hoboken LLC and 53-54 14th Street Retail LLC have submitted their application to the Hoboken Planning Board and a public hearing has not yet been scheduled.