After a brief Cannabis discussion, Ogdensburg Council officials agreed to ban the six market place classes of licensed businesses until they get more information.
Borough Attorney Robert McBriar explained at the Ogdensburg Council meeting May 24, that the November. referendum vote amended the N.J. Constitution, legalizing recreational use of marijuana by adults 21 years old or older. In February, Gov. Phil Murphy signed into law the N.J. Cannabis Regulatory Enforcement Assistance Market Place Modernization Act, which establishes six classes of licensed businesses and authorizes municipalities to adopt local ordinances to regulate the number of licenses, location, and times of operation. Additionally, the act authorizes municipalities to prohibit the operation of any one or more of those licenses.
However, McBriar said, the borough is required to either prohibit the six license classifications or regulate any one of them by Aug. 22. If the borough does not enact an ordinance, all the licenses will be legal for a five year period. After the five year period, the borough may return and adopt local ordinances which regulate prospective aspects only, not retrospective. McBriar said that every Sussex county municipality has been looking at this issue, including the county.
Furthermore, McBriar said, the borough may prohibit the licenses, while they get more data and analyze potential impacts. He said prohibiting does not mean the borough cannot allow licenses in the future.
Councilman Alfonse DeMeo said they can ban the licenses, and “Then can always walk it back. As times change, rules are going to change. Let’s not be the guinea pig.”
In other business
Vehicle weight regulation: The council unanimously approved an ordinance regulating the maximum vehicle weight on certain streets.
Municipal Facilities and Recreation areas application, requirements, and code of conduct resolution: The council unanimously approved an updated form, including a code of conduct.
McBriar said the updated facilities use form will be required by any group using any public recreational facility or area in Ogdensburg. He said the code of conduct was more for sports and team related groups using a borough field.
DeMeo asked if a point on the code of conduct would pass a challenge regarding Freedom of Speech.
Mayor George Hutnick explained the purpose of the code of conduct was to stop the cursing, yelling, and fighting and allow the borough to remove individuals immediately from fields for poor behavior.
Heater’s Pond opening date: Councilwoman Brenda Cowdrick said Heater’s Pond will open on June 15, and the pond treatment has been completed.
Guard Shack/snack stand: Councilman Anthony Nasisi discussed ideas to improve the guard shack/snack stand. He said a former patch came off of the roof and recommended the Department of Public Works double check the status. Councilman Michael Nardini will contact the DPW.
Administrative fees for Recreation Areas and Facilities: Officials discussed season badge costs, which need to be finalized.
DeMeo said the recreation fee or deposit of $50 was too low. He recommended the use of the facility or field usage be $100 - $500, depending on the amount of cleanup and wear and tear on the facilities.
McBriar said the borough may charge an additional fee, including maintenance, custodial, set-up, and take-down fees. He will draft proposals for the council to consider.
Nardini recommended profit businesses pay a fee vs. non-profit fundraisers.
Establishment of Ogdensburg Borough Parks and Recreation Committee: DeMeo recommended annual appointments and not three year terms. He added that people on the committee should not out last the people appointing them. Additionally, the committee should make recommendations to the council.
Hutnick explained the committee would not be sports related, but responsible for senior citizen events or movies.
After discussion, officials agreed to five members and a council liaison.
Amendments to regulations for municipal recreation areas: McBriar said the borough is working to make a distinction between non-profits and public borough functions. For example, he said, the Ogdensburg Recreational Association (ORA), a 501c3 non-profit corporation, should put on their website that they are a 501c3 and not a governmental agency.