Gardiner Town Board bids Dukler adieu, bans pot lounges

While the bulk of the Gardiner Town Board’s meeting on Tuesday, December 14 was devoted to discussion of recommendations by a consultant for specific items that might be included in the Town’s updated Comprehensive Plan, the meeting was remarkable for another reason: It marked the last in which David Dukler would participate as a councilman. He has served two terms on the Board since being elected in 2013.

Other members were effusive in their praise for Dukler’s service to the community, on the boards of the Gardiner Library and the New Paltz Central School District as well as during his tenure on the Town Board. Councilwoman Laura Walls, who also served on the school board with Dukler, described his core approach to governing as “Seek first to understand.” Councilman Franco Carucci called Dukler a source of wisdom who “helped me understand how to function in this body” when he himself joined the Town Board.

“We are grateful for all that you have done, and grateful that you will not be leaving the community,” said supervisor Marybeth Majestic. She noted with satisfaction that Dukler has committed to stay involved with efforts to expand outdoor recreation in Gardiner via the establishment of a new trail network on Town-owned property adjoining the Transfer Station, and that he will be working with a task force to establish a Community Preservation Fund that will use fees on real estate transactions to finance the protection of open space.

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“We can’t run the community without volunteerism,” said Dukler, noting that his years of service on various boards had taught him that “People can disagree, and then work together tomorrow.”

Also at the December 14 meeting, a public hearing was conducted to allow input by residents on the adoption of a local law to opt out of hosting cannabis lounges in Gardiner. After no attendees offered any comments pro or con, the Town Board closed the hearing and voted unanimously to pass the law, with Warren Wiegand absent. Thus, effective January 1, Gardiner will be among those communities in New York State approving cannabis dispensaries in the township, but not lounges for on-site consumption. Licensing for either type of facilities is not expected to take effect until 2023, according to Jen Metzger of the State’s Cannabis Control Board.