Palatine panel recommends rules for pot sales with 'Opt Out' group in attendance
Palatine's advisory plan commission Tuesday night issued recommendations on regulations for recreational marijuana businesses if they open in the village, including limiting the number of such operations and having minimum distances from schools and parks.
Recreational pot use by those 21 and older becomes legal in Illinois on Jan. 1. Towns can't outlaw its use, but are allowed to prohibit businesses that sell it or restrict their location.
About 40 spectators attended Tuesday's plan commission meeting, many wearing white T-shirts with "Opt Out" on the front and "Say No To Recreational Cannabis Dispensary" on the back.
Plan commission Chairman Dennis Dwyer stressed to the crowd that the session was strictly on recommendations to the village council on where and how marijuana retailers could operate in Palatine, not whether to opt in or out. He said the council will get the final word on the matter.
Councilmen are expected to decide in December whether to allow weed sales in Palatine and the related issues. As part of the decision-making process, the council will review the plan commission's recommendations.
Plan commission members agreed that pot shops should be a minimum of 2,500 feet from schools, beyond the 1,500 feet that was proposed by Palatine's village hall staff. The commission also agreed that marijuana dispensaries should be at least 1,000 feet from Palatine Park District facilities instead of an originally proposed 500 feet.
In addition, the plan commission settled on a range of two to four marijuana retailers if they are allowed in Palatine.
The businesses would need to go through a special-use permitting process and be restricted to manufacturing areas or highway shopping districts.
Palatine resident Joseph Qian was among upward of a dozen speakers at the plan commission meeting. He suggested that marijuana shops be kept at least one mile from schools, churches and parks.
"Make sure (students) cannot walk over there," said Qian, who donned an "Opt Out" shirt.
Another resident, Paul LoPiccolo, expressed concern about the potential of marijuana businesses on a section of a manufacturing area on Colfax Street near downtown Palatine.
"I would like to see that pushed farther more along the Rand (Road) corridor, where it does have easy access to (Route) 53 where people can come and go and we are off heavier trafficked streets," LoPiccolo said. "I do want to see Palatine opt into this."
Palatine likely would tack on a maximum 3% local tax on pot sales allowed in the village.
The village also received confirmation its local 1% food and beverage tax would apply to baked goods, candies, drinks and other prepared offerings with weed in them.
Elsewhere in the suburbs, South Barrington's advisory plan commission will hold a similar public hearing Dec. 3 is to consider potential regulations if marijuana dispensaries were to locate in the village.