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updated: 6/6/2014 10:33 AM

North Aurora making rules on medical marijuana businesses

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Can you imagine a medical marijuana dispensary next to the JCPenney, or a stone's throw from the police station, in North Aurora?

The village, which has to allow such dispensaries somewhere in the village, might allow them as permitted uses in areas zoned for commercial, industrial and office use.

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The village board this week identified those districts as places it prefers to put any dispensary, and directed the village's plan commission to hold a public hearing about changing the town's zoning code.

The plan commission could, however, recommend something more restrictive, such as allowing dispensaries only in commercial districts or only in office/industrial districts. It could also recommend allowing them only as a special use.

The commission will likely consider the matter at its July meeting, according to village administrator Steven Bosco.

According to economic and community development director Mike Toth, one advantage to having a dispensary in a commercial district is increased visibility, which could deter crime. The visibility could also be a disadvantage, however, if its appearance wasn't aesthetically pleasing, he wrote in a memo to the board.

Currently there isn't anywhere in town eligible for a cultivation center where the marijuana could be grown. State law prohibits placing those within 2,500 feet of a residential area. The plan commission will, however, be asked to designate industrial areas as a potential site for cultivation centers, in case zoning for any land changes.

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