Hoffman Estates inches closer to allowing recreational pot sales
Hoffman Estates is moving ahead with plans to allow recreational marijuana sales in the village.
At a public hearing Wednesday, the village's planning and zoning commission discussed changes to the zoning code that would permit the dispensaries in certain locations.
But while the panel initially considered as many as four parts of the village to allow dispensaries, by the time commissioners were done looking over maps of the proposed zoning districts, the focus was on industrial areas west of Barrington Road.
Recreational marijuana use will be legal in Illinois for adults 21 and older as of Jan. 1. Municipalities cannot outlaw possession but can ban its sale within city limits. Towns that allow marijuana sales can impose a tax of up to 3% on top of state taxes.
Commissioners voted to continue the hearing until Nov. 20 before making a final recommendation to the village board, which has final say. In the meantime, they suggested changes to the proposed zoning amendment and to maps detailing where the dispensaries would be allowed.
Their amendment would permit a maximum of three recreational marijuana dispensaries, which would require special use permits from the village to operate. The businesses must be at least 1,500 feet apart, and use on the premises would be forbidden.
"Our general intention was to keep these away from schools and day care centers," said Peter Gugliotta, the village's director of planning, building and code enforcement.
Hoffman Estates has no medical marijuana dispensaries, so the planning and zoning commission had no previous experience with dispensary locations.
"This is a very complicated zoning situation," commission Chairwoman Eva Combs said. "It takes a lot to go through."
The commission heard public comments from five residents, all opposed to allowing recreational marijuana sales.
Diane Stevens said the proposed distance between dispensaries and sensitive areas like schools, day care centers and churches -- 1,000 feet -- is not enough.
"A thousand feet is not a large amount of space," she said. "So I would say even go up to 1,500 feet."
The village board has signaled it is in favor of allowing recreational pot sales and already has established a 3% local sales tax.