To give themselves more time to observe what other municipalities decide and ramifications of their actions or inactions, members of the Town Board expect to opt out of allowing marijuana dispensaries to operate in the town.
A discussion of the new state law allowing for possession and use of recreational marijuana started in earnest at Tuesday’s work session. It’s planned to continue next Tuesday to reach an agreement on how to respond in time for the Town Board regular meeting on May 7.
If the town opts out, it would take approximately 100 signatures on a petition to force a referendum on that decision.
The board discussed banning smoking of any product in some areas. Currently, smoking cigarettes is not allowed on school grounds. The town is likely to act to ban all smoking at places where children might be exposed. They could also ban smoking when driving.
Police Chief Jim Read said he prefers the town opt out now. He noted that the state allows the option to opt out, but later rescind that decision and allow cannabis use. The chief said he would expect many complaints if marijuana smoking is allowed on beaches where families gather with young children.
Councilman Jim Colligan encouraged a decision to opt out. “Let’s be cautious,” he said.
The town needs to act soon if it’s going to opt out because propositions for the November ballot need to be established by Aug. 3, according to Town Attorney Bob DeStefano Jr. Otherwise, the town could have to absorb the cost of a special election after November if enough people sign a petition trying to overturn the opt-out decision.
Every police department and municipality is struggling with what to do about the newly enacted state law, Chief Read said.
“Everyone’s scrambling right now,” Mr. DeStefano added.”There’s just a lot that hasn’t been decided yet.”
The Chequit Inn will have only a limited opening for the summer of 2021. The operators of the hotel told the Town Board Tuesday there is major work still underway in the main building. The kitchen won’t be ready and rooms can only be rented in an annex on Washington Street across from the main building. A coffee shop will open on Washington Street with a limited menu available on the outside terrace.
The Chequit is expected to open fully in 2022,
A full outline of what to expect from all the Island hotels will appear in next week’s Reporter.
Commercial license agreements
By next week, the Town Board expects to have commercial license agreements set for businesses operating on town-owned sites during summer months. The Islander food truck, which was able to operate on Crescent Beach near the closed Sunset Beach Hotel last summer, will move down the beach away from the hotel this summer. Other businesses expected to open this summer include Venture Out, Kayak Shelter Island and Bonheur Spa.
Fees will be raised, but the exact amount hasn’t yet been determined.
Chief Read alerted residents to many scams underway this summer and has posted a list of several on the Police Department website — shelterislandtown.us/shelter-island-police-department.
If something seems to be too good to be true, it likely is, he said.
Among the scams mentioned were people fraudulently trying to get unemployment benefits. The person whose name is used in filing might not be aware of the filing until getting a 1099 tax form for money they never saw. But the business paying into the account is hit.
There are also scams involving PSEG accounts, Publishers Clearing House and a host of others. Chief Read is encouraging residents to call his department — 631-749-0600 — if they think they’ve been victims and to be cautious about responding to offers they think might be fraudulent.
Councilman Mike Bebon plans to provide information from a Long Island Water Policy discussion on the Water Advisory Committee page on the town website — shelterislandtown.us. He’s recommending that people take the time to review the material he expects to post sometime this week.