DeKALB – Questions arose at the DeKalb County Committee of the Whole meeting Tuesday night regarding an ordinance that would allow most marijuana business within unincorporated DeKalb County if passed by the full County Board.
DeKalb County board member Steve Faivre brought up the changes the Planning and Zoning Committee made at its last meeting Jan. 22, which brought the ordinance one step closer to approval.
Faivre said that everything from cultivating, craft growing, processing, infusing and transporting marijuana would be allowed in the county, in addition to each marijuana business remaining at least 1,500 feet away from specified locations, or setbacks. Marijuana dispensaries and on-site consumption would not be allowed within unincorporated DeKalb County.
County Board member Suzanne Willis said at the previous Planning and Zoning meeting how it didn’t make much sense to have different setbacks – if someone wanted to start a business or if they wanted to expand to another business with a different setback, the business would have to relocate.
County Board member Jeff Whelan wanted to know whether unincorporated DeKalb County would allow growing marijuana.
“What the planning and zoning board agreed to is basically to allow all the craft growers and all that kind of stuff in the county for people pursue and then want to get zoning,” DeKalb County Board Chairman Mark Pietrowski replied, adding that the plant has to be indoors and secure. “It can’t just be grown in a field.”
Tim Campbell asked whether dispensaries were off the table for unincorporated DeKalb.
Pietrowski replied that they were not in the plans for now, but the board always could try to adjust plans later.
“As it stands right now, it wouldn’t be allowed in unincorporated [DeKalb County],” Pietrowski said.
New deputy county administrator
Also at Tuesday’s meeting, DeKalb County Director of Community Development Derek Hiland was appointed as the county’s new deputy administrator. Although he said he still had not processed the appointment, he gave what he called his “gut reaction.”
“I’m honored the county board has faith in me to reconstitute a role it hasn’t had in a while,” Hiland said. “It’s a role I’m excited for.”
He said he doesn’t know whether this means his current role has changed because he still works for Community Development, but said he thinks having his new role will help DeKalb County Administrator Gary Hanson.
“When the county had the role previously, it was quite beneficial,” Hiland said. “I learned in my position you can’t be in two places at once. This allows us to be at more meetings to represent the county well.”