Naperville proposes limit of 3 recreational pot dispensaries

 
 
Posted6/23/2020 5:30 AM

Naperville City Council kicked off discussion of zoning regulations for recreational marijuana businesses by eliminating six of the seven types of cannabis businesses defined by state law from likely consideration.

Only dispensaries, which are marijuana retail stores, are set to be included in a potential ordinance city staff members are drafting for review by the planning and zoning commission at a future meeting, likely in July.

 

During the first step of a process toward setting zoning rules, council members during a Monday night workshop suggested that cultivation centers, craft growers, processing organizations, transporting organizations, infuser organizations and on-site consumption establishments not be allowed to locate in town.

"We've cut out all kinds of categories that people were concerned about," council member Judith Brodhead said.

For dispensaries, the council suggested a cap be set in the ordinance to allow no more than three within Naperville's boundaries.

City Manager Doug Krieger said staff members plan to propose a larger parking requirement for any future dispensaries than for typical retail shops. Staff members also will provide various maps showing where stores could locate if they were allowed to be within 250 feet or 1,000 feet of residential areas, or if there were no distance requirement between shops and homes.

The ordinance will be drawn up based on the rules the city has had in place since late 2013 to govern medical marijuana shops, which were allowed by the state to begin operations Jan. 1, 2014. Ideally, said Allison Laff, deputy director of transportation, engineering and development, the city will end up with one updated ordinance to govern both medical and recreational marijuana sales.

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The proposed ordinance would allow marijuana dispensaries in two types of commercial districts meant for medium or large shopping areas and in all types of industrial areas, Krieger said.

After review by the planning and zoning commission, the city council would give the ordinance a first reading, then a second reading at a separate meeting before a vote.

Council members debated whether the shops should be permitted by right once an ordinance is set or if each one should be required to go through city review to receive a conditional use permit.

Some, such as council member Theresa Sullivan and Mayor Steve Chirico, said shops should be a permitted use to avoid having to rehash a controversial issue time and time again. Others, such as council members Paul Hinterlong and Patty Gustin, said each future marijuana store should require separate council approval to provide transparency and a public voice.

The city frequently has heard from critics and supporters of recreational marijuana sales since discussions began last July. The results of a March 17 advisory referendum showed 53.25% of 28,968 voters said the stores should be allowed.

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