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Jason Leon will stay on Lake Placid village board | News, Sports, Jobs

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LAKE PLACID — Voters of this village won’t be heading to the polls this March to elect someone to fill Trustee Jason Leon’s seat for one year. Instead, they could be voting in a referendum whether to adopt new laws opting out of issuing licenses for cannabis dispensaries and on-site cannabis consumption.

Leon, who was recently elected to a four-year term as North Elba town councilman, will begin his new term in January. But he has the choice of resigning from the village board or staying on, as long as town officials are not discussing their 2023 budget, which typically starts in the fall.

“Then it becomes a conflict of interest,” said Mayor Art Devlin, who double checked with the New York Conference of Mayors to make sure that Leon can serve on both boards at the same time.

After losing an election bid for trustee in March 2009, Leon first joined the village board on May 4 of that year, being appointed to fill in for Peter Roy, who had resigned a month earlier. In 2010, Leon was elected to finish Roy’s final year of his four-year term. In 2011, 2015 and 2019, Leon was reelected to four-year terms. His term ends in 2023, and Devlin said he expects that board members will appoint someone to fill in for Leon between the time he resigns next fall and March 2023.

By the time he leaves the board, Leon will have spent more than 13 years as a village trustee.

Leon confirmed Wednesday, Dec. 15 that he will remain on the village board until the fall of 2022.

“There are a couple of projects I want to see through (Climate Smart Community/increased EV charging stations in the village),” Leon wrote in Messenger. “Most importantly, I want to be present on both boards when the STR lawsuit is resolved so I can see through necessary adjustments to the law that help better protect our community.”

Leon’s said his second child is due on Jan. 21 and he will therefore donate his February village salary ($400) to the Zonta Club of the Adirondacks and his March village salary to the Lake Placid Central School District Backpack Program. Leon is currently the technology coordinator for the Lake Placid Central School District.

Devlin said Wednesday, Dec. 15, that he was pleased to hear Leon will remain a trustee through most of 2022.

“I’m very happy with the decision,” Devlin said. “That’s who the voters put into office, and as long as he’s willing to serve, we’re very happy to have him.”

Cannabis referendum

Village board members recently held public hearings on two proposed local laws: one to opt out of issuing licenses for cannabis dispensaries and one to opt of issuing licenses for on-site cannabis consumption. After New York’s law legalizing recreational cannabis use went into effect March 31, state officials gave municipalities until Dec. 31 to adopt local laws opting out of those options. If local opt-out laws are not adopted by then, the municipalities are automatically opted in.

Devlin confirmed Wednesday that village board members are expected to adopt the opt-out laws at their Dec. 20 meeting. Yet, a cannabis opt-out law is subject to a permissive referendum; under village law in New York, that means voters have until 30 days after the law’s adoption to gather enough signatures to force a public vote on the law. However, villages also have the option to schedule a referendum themselves on the local law.

“I still think that’s a big enough decision that we should make that for the people, that they should have their own voice,” Devlin said.

Trustees are expected to vote on setting a referendum date during their Jan. 18 meeting, according to the mayor. The referendum would ask voters to approve the two opt-out laws. The vote would be held on Tuesday, March 15, according to Village Clerk Anita Estling.

An opt-out law may not be filed with the secretary of state until the 30-day time period has elapsed to file a petition or a referendum has been held approving the local law.

The local law takes effect immediately upon its filing with the secretary of state.

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