A lengthy battle to prevent what could be Hoboken’s first cannabis dispensary from opening is slated to continue in a courtroom as a legal action hopes to throw out approvals granted last month.
The 51-53 Fourteenth Street Condominium Association filed a fresh lawsuit on December 16 against Hoboken’s planning board and Story Dispensary Hoboken LLC, who are seeking to open inside the former Hudson Tavern space on the building’s ground floor.
The proposal has been met with some opposition from locals, with Second Ward Councilwoman Tiffanie Fisher leading the charge against the cannabis facility. Despite the opposition, the planning board approved Story Dispensary’s application on November 1 after five meetings and hours of discussion.
The condo association’s complaint is seeking to void those approvals on various technical grounds, which are outlined in their 19-page complaint. It starts by claiming that Story Dispensary failed to obtain a “d” variance regarding their use of the property’s basement, as city code allegedly dictates that “a cannabis retailer or medical cannabis dispensary shall only be located on the ground floor (i.e., street level).”
The condo’s complaint additionally cites potential security concerns at the dispensary, as “the location of security cameras in the windows unequivocally cannot capture all areas of the adjacent exterior the building.”
The litigation claims that Story Dispensary’s decision to completely “frost” the windows to obstruct the view of cannabis products “runs afoul of the recommendations of the City of Hoboken Historic Preservation Commission.”
The lawsuit also argues that the dispensary’s 380-square-foot lobby “simply does not have sufficient room in its lobby to account for the level of its anticipated clientele,” noting that Hoboken’s cannabis regulations prohibit queuing outside cannabis facilities.
The complaint goes on to further argue that Story Dispensary has failed to submit sufficient proof that they have secured the required 14 parking spaces for their facility and denounces the “limited traffic study” that was submitted by the company. The case says the study was skewed by classifying the former Hudson Tavern as a “High Turnover (Sit-Down) Restaurant” instead of “Fine Dining.”
The filing is the second lawsuit initiated by the condo association in their attempt to prevent the dispensary from opening. The first, filed in May and later dismissed, alleged fraud and claimed that a company co-owned by the wife of Jersey City mayor Steve Fulop purchased their storefront to “facilitate the installation of a cannabis dispensary under the false pretense of relocating a physical therapy practice.”
That case named 51-53 14th Retail LLC and Exchange Physical Therapy Group as defendants, both of which are co-owned by Jacyln Fulop. Neither party is a defendant in the new case, which does not have a date set for future proceedings.
In a case of interesting timing, the City Council is slated to vote on a resolution of support regarding Story Dispensary’s application during their December 21 meeting.