Elgin industrial park could get a craft cannabis grower business

Elgin may soon get its first cannabis business, but even if the doors open, the public won't be invited.

The city's planning and zoning commission reviewed plans this week to bring a cannabis craft grower facility to the industrial park off the southeast corner of McLean Boulevard and Big Timber Road. The ownership group behind the company, 1300 Abbott LLC, is part of Flora Group LLC, which already owns dispensaries and cultivation centers in various other states.

A craft grower operation is smaller than large-scale cultivation centers. Craft growers can have up to 14,000 square feet of cannabis growing space. The proposal calls for 5,000 square feet to start, with the anticipation of expanding to the maximum space in the future.

Commissioners unanimously agreed to recommend moving forward with the plan to the city council. City council members must review the plan and take a final vote before the business can open.

Anthony Carpino, one of the owners, said he takes pride in his operations maintaining a low profile.

“You will not know that we are even there,” Carpino told commissioners. “We are going to operate privately. We are just there to grow cannabis and produce products that are going to be sold to dispensaries.”

Elgin's cannabis rules don't allow for more than one type of cannabis business to operate out of the same location. That means the grow center can't add on a dispensary that would be open to the public.

Elgin doesn't have any dispensaries despite recent attempts to attract them to the downtown by modifying its rules about where they can locate.

The grow center, which would open at 1300 Abbott Drive, would neighbor other industrial businesses on three sides. There would be neighboring apartment buildings directly to the south.

That's not a problem under city code, which prevents cannabis businesses from opening near “sensitive” land uses such as parks, schools and day care facilities. The closest location that meets that definition is Wing Park, which is more than 900 feet away from the proposed facility.

The facility would operate Monday through Friday. It will would two security guards during business hours and one security guard in the evenings. A six-foot security fence would surround the property.

Otherwise, there would be no changes to the facility that are noticeable from the outside.

All the grow operations would occur within the existing building. Carpino said that would include an indoor garden that would grow fruits and vegetables the company would donate to shelters, food pantries and community members who want fresh produce.

The business will employ 10 people. Carpino said they hope to fill those positions with local residents.

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