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Local

Planning and Zoning Commission recommends marijuana ordinance, 9-0

Sycamore's City Manager Brian Gregory lays out the rules for a possible dispensary to the city's Planning and Zoning Commission during Monday's meeting. The Planning and Zoning Commission voted, 9-0, to move it forward for a recommendation to the City Council.
Sycamore's City Manager Brian Gregory lays out the rules for a possible dispensary to the city's Planning and Zoning Commission during Monday's meeting. The Planning and Zoning Commission voted, 9-0, to move it forward for a recommendation to the City Council.

SYCAMORE – Sycamore City Manager Brian Gregory laid out to the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission the various rules any potential recreational cannabis dispensary would face if one was built in Sycamore.

A favorable recommendation to the City Council was requested. Once Gregory laid out the proposed rules, the public was invited to make comments.

There were no comments from the public.

“Crickets,” 2nd Ward Alderman Chuck Stowe said.

No one from the Planning and Zoning Commission made a comment either before it voted, 9-0. Now the ordinance will be recommended to the Sycamore City Council, which will then discuss it at its meeting Monday.

For those who don’t want to see dispensaries spread throughout Sycamore or throughout its downtown area, they’ll be happy to know the city’s population would not currently allow more than one.

“The way the state is rolling this out, it will limit the availability of a license for a dispensary,” he said. “What we proposed is that one dispensary be permitted for every 9,000 in population. What that means is ultimately in the next 18 months or so if someone was to come and get a permit for a dispensary in Sycamore, that would be the one that is allowed until the 2020 census is certified.”

Gregory said at that point, he would expect that the city would have more than 18,000 people, so then there’d be a possibility for a second license.

“Until that time, only one license would be allowed unless the council by three-fourths vote of the corporate authorities wanted to waive that and allow additional dispensaries,” Gregory said.

But if the July 1, 2018 U.S. Census estimate is correct, there already are enough people living in Sycamore to permit two dispensaries.

Gregory laid out a few of the other rules for potential dispensaries, including that they must be at least 1,000 feet from schools, daycare facilities and group daycare homes, and they cannot be in a residential area.

He said the ordinance would prohibit a craft grower, which Gregory explained is similar to a “brewpub.”

Gregory said the state law requires at least 1,500 feet between recreational cannabis dispensaries and that there’s to be no drive-thru dispensaries.

He also pointed out that no dispensary could operate before Jan. 1, 2020.

Gregory talked about how, as with medical cannabis, a recreational cannabis dispensary would only be allowed with a special-use permit.

“Throughout the discussions we had with the City Council, the public hearing and the like, there was an emphasis from some supportive of the idea who said, ‘We just don’t want it downtown,’ and the others against the idea of a dispensary who said, “If you do, try to keep it away from downtown.’ ”

He said the ordinance would not allow a dispensary in the downtown business district.

But as the ordinance goes forward, Gregory said, if the dispensary requires a special-use permit, there would be some additional steps.

“The location would be determined, a petition would need to be made, and then it would go through the planning and zoning commission and the city council for a local zoning approval,” Gregory said. “Then it would have to go through the state for consideration of a license.”

Gregory said the lack of public comments or ones from the commission didn’t surprise him, because the city followed the same “blueprints” it did from the medical cannabis zoning.

Gregory said there has been some interest in building a dispensary.

“Some have called,” he said. “But no one has submitted a petition or a request.”

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