The Maplewood Township Committee met on Wednesday and discussed a number of different items, some of which it will address at its next meeting on June 19 (see agenda attached below):
Medical marijuana dispensaries: Ahead of an anticipated vote by the New Jersey legislature to increase the number of permitted medical marijuana dispensaries (or “alternative treatment centers”), the TC voted to draft an ordinance to permit and regulate such facilities in the township.
“We have been approached by a number of parties interested in coming to Maplewood” to open a dispensary, said Mayor Vic DeLuca. He suggested the centers be allowed in areas zoned for Highway Business (basically the eastern and western borders of Springfield Avenue and the western border of Millburn Avenue) and Pedestrian Retail use. The township would mandate permissible hours of operation and other conditions.
DeLuca said the township was making the move also with an eye toward the potential legalization of the drug for adult recreational purposes. The TC will introduce the ordinance on June 19.
More Liquor Licenses?: The state is considering a measure that would enable municipalities to issue a new type of liquor license that would allow smaller restaurants to serve liquor at tables (but not at a bar), and another form that would allow only wine and beer service, according to a report in Real Estate NJ. The move would make licenses much more affordable for many small businesses. To offset a potential loss of value to current license holders, the bill would provide tax credits. Still, many current license holders are staunchly opposed to the measure. TC members were in favor of the move; however, Deputy Mayor Frank McGehee wants the township to lobby for municipalities to see a larger share of the revenue from the new licenses.
A Dog Run in Maplewood?: McGehee raised the question of whether the township should consider creating a dog run, Noting that there are currently around 800 licensed dogs in town. McGehee said he had been approached by dog owners eager to have a place to let their dogs offleash that is closer than South Mountain Reservation. He suggested Maplecrest Park, but said he was open to suggestion.
TC member Nancy Adams said that, while she is a dog owner and is sympathetic to the issue, “I really don’t think any of our parks are suitable” because of considerations of space, parking and more. DeLuca agreed, noting that a prior proposal to start a dog run in Memorial Park faced “tremendous opposition” and was ultimately rejected by the TC. He said he would be in favor of looking into it again, but “it’s going to come down to location.” McGehee said he would bring the idea to a committee for further investigation.