Headlines for November 21, 2022

According to the Ithaca Voice, Ithaca’s Planning and Economic and Development Committee is moving forward with plans to build a new Public Safety Facility at a new location. Construction of the new police facility is estimated to cost around $20-30 million dollars, according to city planning staff. Plans have been in motion since early 2017, when Kingsbury Architecture released a report analyzing various city facilities and concluded that the current police facility was in dire need of improvement. The report cited overall building deterioration, as well as inadequate space and storage capacity. The new site has not yet been revealed, but planning staff will begin the acquisition for the project this month. 

On Wednesday, the Tompkins County Legislature assessed the potential demand of Ithaca’s Code Blue program for the upcoming winter. The program ensures that counties provide housing for homeless or unhoused people at any time the temperature falls below freezing at night. Those in need of shelter are provided housing in emergency shelters, hotels, and churches, all of which are reimbursed by New York State. According to the Ithaca Voice, Department of Social Services Commissioner Kit Kephart delivered the presentation to the Legislature, pointing to challenges including insufficient staffing and low availability of shelter beds. The program has historically had to ask for support from local community service groups to adequately operate in busy months. 

According to the Times Union, a draft of New York’s marijuana sale regulations would limit medical marijuana companies’ entry into the recreational industry. The newly drafted regulations outline several rules for the budding industry throughout its 300 page-span. These include a requirement for medical companies to pay a “one-time 5 million dollar fee to sell in the recreational industry,” as well as a 3 year wait period for medical marijuana organizations to open retail stores. The rules are an attempt to hinder the growth of large, “seed-to-sale” businesses in the state, and favor industry newcomers—particularly the Social and Economic Equity dispensary applicants. Large-scale operations have quickly dominated the recreational marijuana marketplace in other states. The Cannabis Control Board intends to review the new draft rules today, of which will be open to public comment if adopted. 

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