Lombard close to allowing pot shops downtown, on Roosevelt Road

Lombard trustees could be less than two weeks away from setting zoning regulations that would allow recreational marijuana dispensaries in office or industrial areas as well as on Roosevelt Road.

The village board gave preliminary approval Thursday to a 12-part zoning code update that also would allow dispensaries - if they receive a conditional use permit - to open in the downtown and downtown perimeter districts, the Butterfield Road commercial district and districts zoned as neighborhood or community shopping areas.

The board also gave an early OK to an ordinance that would charge a 3% tax on all recreational marijuana sold in town, Village Manager Scott Niehaus said Friday.

Both the zoning and tax regulations are set for a second reading and a final vote during the board's Oct. 3 meeting, Niehaus said.

Lombard could be among the first communities in the region to set zoning rules governing businesses that could open under the state's Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act, which goes into effect Jan. 1.

Elburn approved regulations allowing marijuana sales, and South Elgin and East Dundee plan to do so as well. Naperville, Long Grove, Grayslake and Lake Zurich have voted so far to ban pot shops. But in many other municipalities, the issue remains under consideration.

Lombard's pending regulations do not include any restriction on the number of dispensaries that could be allowed in town, nor on the distance they must be from other types of buildings. Niehaus said that's because state licensing specifications and preferences of potential shop operators will serve as "natural restrictors," preventing dispensaries from "clustering" in one area.

The state requires, for example, a 1,500-foot buffer between one medical or recreational marijuana dispensary and the next, and the buffer applies regardless of municipal boundaries.

Aside from dispensaries, Lombard's regulations would not permit the other types of recreational marijuana businesses licensed under the new state law. That means cultivation centers, craft growers, and infuser, processing or transporting organizations are out.

Lombard also would forbid on-site consumption of cannabis at any business.

Four people spoke to oppose cannabis dispensaries before the board's preliminary vote.

Four trustees voted in favor of the zoning and tax plans to allow dispensaries, including Andrew Honig, Anthony Puccio, Reid Foltyniewicz and Dan Whittington. Trustee Dan Militello, who works in the cannabis industry, abstained. Trustee Bill Ware was absent.

Trustees mulling where pot shops could be allowed in Lombard

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