KINDERHOOK—The Town Board passed a motion at its December 6 meeting to create a local law to opt out of allowing “adult-use on-site cannabis consumption sites” to locate within the town. Kinderhook is the most populous town in the county and has two villages within its border. The villages of Valatie and Kinderhook have also passed local laws that would not allow on-site cannabis consumption businesses in their municipalities at their meetings this month.
The state allowed municipalities to pass laws that would prohibit either cannabis dispensaries, where cannabis products can be sold, and/or on-site cannabis bars or cafes. The deadline for adopting these laws is December 31. The twist is that if boards opt out now they can opt back in at a future date. If they do not pass a local law by the new year, they cannot opt out at a later date.
Town Supervisor Patsy Leader said she’d been “to numerous webinars and meetings” on the issue. The supervisor pointed out at the meeting that the state still hasn’t worked out the details for licensing and obtaining the liability insurance required if someone wants to open a cannabis business. She said that realistically it will be at least two years down the road, “or later,” before businesses can open.
‘We did a lot of work.’
Supervisor Patsy Leader
Town of Kinderhook
Kinderhook, like the Town of Chatham, is only opting out of the on-site consumption, not the possibility of allowing dispensaries. The new state law says that while towns and villages can opt out of allowing cannabis retail dispensaries or on-site consumption licenses from locating within their jurisdictions, “municipalities cannot opt-out of adult-use legalization.” Adult-use cannabis possession and use by adults 21 years of age or older is legal in the state. “With respect to smoking and vaping, cannabis is treated the same as tobacco,” according to information from the Association of Towns.
There were no comments from the public about the law, though one resident asked where to find the proposed law on the town’s website.
Town Board member Deborah Johnson wanted to make sure the board was approving a law that just opted out of the on-site use businesses. She said she wanted to make sure the retail part “is okay.”
All board members present at the meeting voted to approve the local law. Councilwoman Sally Hogan was not at the meeting.
The Village of Kinderhook held a public hearing December 8 on the proposed local law to opt-out of allowing adult-use on-site cannabis consumption sites and unanimously voted to approve the new law. The Valatie Village Board also voted on a similar opt-out law for onsite consumption businesses at their meeting on Tuesday, December 14.
The December 6 Town Board meeting was also the last regular board meeting with Ms. Leader as supervisor. She did not run for reelection this year after one term as supervisor. She has served on the town board since 2010.
Her fellow board member Tim Ooms was elected supervisor and Valatie Village Trustee Sean Casey won a seat on the Town Board. Ms. Johnson was reelected to her full term on the board after being elected to a 1 year term in 2020.
Board members presented Ms. Leader with a plaque thanking her for her service and acknowledging that she was the first woman supervisor of the town. She received flowers from her daughter and granddaughters and thanks from several people from the community for her commitment to helping people.
Supervisor Leader talked about her accomplishments in office including having a section of Route 203 paved, hosting a large 9/11 memorial event in September, working on the opioid epidemic in the area, and helping with the purchase of the Martin H. Glynn Municipal Building from the Ichabod Crane School District for $1. She said of her 12 years on the board, “We did a lot of work.”
Also at the Kinderhook Town Board meeting:
• Supervisor Leader urged residents to sign up for email alerts on the town website at www.kinderhook-ny.gov
• The board received a letter from the state Department of Transportation (DOT) saying that reviews of conditions on several roads did “not support a speed limit lower” than the existing speed limits. Those roads include county Route 7A, Mt. Merino Road, county Route 32, Old Post Road, Buckwheat Bridge Road and Hill and Dale Road. The letter also says, “Please note that during the field investigation of Old Post Road it was noticed that the speed limit signs posted on Bishop Nelson Road are for 30 MPH. NYSDOT records show that the speed limit on Bishop Nelson Road is 35 MPH”
• The board appointed a new member of the BAR (Board of Assessment Review) but Supervisor Leader pointed out there are still vacancies on the Zoning Board of Appeals and the Planning Board. The vacancies are listed on the website
• Councilman Phil Bickerton said that the Climate Smart Committee is working on a proposed solar law that they hope to present to the public in February
• The board will hold an end-of-year meeting January 12, 2022 at 6:30 p.m. at the Glynn Building.
The next regular meeting will be January 3 at 6:30 p.m.
To contact reporter Emilia Teasdale email