Watkins Glen will opt-in on marijuana
WATKINS GLEN--The Watkins Glen board of trustees decided to not oppose the sale of marijuana in the village during the Tuesday, Oct. 5 meeting, and will automatically be opted-in following the Dec. 31 state deadline. While no vote was taken, Mayor Luke Leszyk said the village has decided to automatically be opted-in and will limit where it can be sold through zoning.
"So we had a consensus with the board and I asked every board member if they wanted to opt-out, that way we could have a vote (if even one of them did)," Leszyk said. "But no one on the board was interested in opting out. So this means the village is in."
Going forward, Leszyk mentioned the village, which is currently in the process of instituting new zoning regulations, would design zoning rules intended to restrict where a marijuana shop could open and potentially how many there would be.
"We want to limit it to the business district, which means Franklin Street," Leszyk stated. "We don't want to see shops opening up in neighborhoods or residential areas."
Leszyk said with the Dec. 31 opt-in date looming, the village's zoning considerations for marijuana will be addressed very quickly.
"We just put eyes on the draft of the zoning laws, so there will be an opportunity for all boards to make their comments," Leszyk commented.
While the sale of marijuana will be allowed in the village, Leszyk added it is important to remember that it doesn't guarantee a shop will open.
"The licensing process appears to be complicated and expensive, so we can't say for sure that a shop would open up in Watkins Glen... it might make more economic sense for one to open in Ithaca or Elmira, a place with a larger population," Leszyk said.
The board also decided to hire an engineer to determine the cost associated with expanding the number of camping spots at Clute Park.
"We are on board with taking a look, but we also have to work with Cargill obviously, anything we do we would have to get their permission first because they are the owners of the land," Leszyk stated.
Despite being a newly constructed building, village officials are considering solutions to make the cafe space more desirable to rent. The current size of the location in the building is not conducive to a larger restaurant-style cafe with a kitchen and cooking area. However, being that the building is under warranty, those terms will likely impact any changes being considered.