Leading land-use consultancy, Dresdner Robin, has completed zoning analyses for a medical marijuana site now moving forward in Hoboken, NJ. The firm, which also conducted a neighborhood impact study for the site in late-2019, evaluated new regulations and proposed enhancements at the location, which was approved by the city’s Planning Board in July 2020. It will become the 10th dispensary in the state and the second in Hudson County.
The 5,000-square-foot site, acquired by Harmony Dispensary and located at 95 Hudson St. in downtown Hoboken, formerly housed an urgent and primary care facility. Approval comes in accordance with New Jersey’s Compassionate Care Act, under which marijuana restrictions have been recently revised, allowing broader access to “alternative medical treatment facilities” across the state.
Harmony Dispensary, which has headquarters and a primary retail-and-cultivation location in Secaucus, N.J., applied for the retail-only Hoboken site in 2018 after new regulations allowed existing licensed alternative medical treatment facilities to open “satellite” locations.
Final local approval for the dispensary involved a revision of Hoboken’s zoning ordinance. Dresdner Robin successfully coordinated the revised zoning requirements for the site. The process involved legislative action from Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla and city council, and the project was reexamined via virtual public Planning Board hearing amid COVID-19-related restrictions.
Charles Heydt, assistant director of planning services at Dresdner Robin, said, “This is a truly unique process. These medical marijuana treatment facilities often involve revisions to land use and zoning regulations in order to properly accommodate this use.”
New factors that Dresdner Robin helped evaluate include parking, a restriction of onsite consumption and an enhanced security system. The Jersey City-based firm also carried out a neighborhood impact study which evaluated parking impacts, noise and odor. The evaluation also incorporated a review of architectural plans, operations and traffic generation. Dresdner Robin identified appropriate strategies to mitigate areas where impacts were anticipated. Upon approval of the new city ordinance in June 2020, Dresdner Robin analyzed new regulations to ensure compliance and rendered a final opinion on the impacts of the proposed use.
The architect on the project is Nastasi Architects of Hoboken. The associated law firm is Scarinci Hollenbeck of Lyndhurst, N.J.
Dresdner Robin was also involved with site acquisition analyses for several prospective medical marijuana retailers across the state, which has involved reviews of zoning and proximity to schools, parks and other public spaces.