Panel proposes hours, parking levels for potential Naperville dispensaries

 
 
Updated 7/16/2020 1:06 PM

Once zoning rules are set for the three recreational marijuana dispensaries that could be allowed in Naperville, planning and zoning commission members said the businesses should be able to go through city review without a specific public hearing.

The commission Wednesday said dispensaries should not be required to receive a conditional use permit once zoning parameters are established, but should be permitted by right in commercial and industrial districts. This would allow the businesses to apply administratively and have their site plans approved by staff members, not the city council.

 

Commissioners also recommended that all prospective marijuana stores must be located more than 250 feet from residential areas, must submit a traffic plan to be reviewed by the city engineer and must limit their hours to 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily.

Also included in the recommended zoning ordinance, which would govern both recreational and medical sales of cannabis, are parking parameters that would require each dispensary to provide six parking spaces per 1,000 square feet of gross building area if they are in a strip mall with shared parking or 7½ spaces per 1,000 square feet if they are in a stand-alone facility.

The commission's recommendations now are set to advance to the city council.

The recommendations were the third step of a five-step process toward setting zoning rules that could permit recreational marijuana dispensaries after 53.25% of voters in an advisory referendum March 17 said such shops should be allowed in Naperville. The city originally approved a ban on stores that went into effect before Jan. 1, when an Illinois law allowed cannabis possession and use by adults statewide.

The next two steps in Naperville's process toward overturning the local sales ban are a first reading of a new zoning ordinance by the city council, followed by a vote.

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Planning and zoning commissioners during their virtual meeting Wednesday heard from 17 public commenters with a range of opinions about where marijuana dispensaries should located relative to schools, homes and the city's overall geography.

Resident Marilyn Schweitzer submitted written comments saying she supported a 250-foot or zero-foot separation rule between dispensaries and residential areas.

"A 1,000-foot separation distance is too restrictive and does not allow for sufficient dispersion of dispensaries across the city," resident Marilyn Schweitzer said.

Resident James Laures said the opposite, asking for a 1,000-foot separation from residential areas for safety and security reasons and saying each dispensary should be required to receive a conditional use permit to allow public scrutiny.

Two members of the planning and zoning commission, Chairman Bruce Hanson and Commissioner Krishna Bansal, took this view and voted against the recommendations supported by the rest of the panel.

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