As the Jan. 1 effective date of medical marijuana distribution nears, village officials mulled which places would be best for dispensaries.
There are fewer than a handful of appropriate places in Downers Grove, the commissioners decided last week. A set of restrictions cleared village council with a 4-3 vote, with dissenting commissioners arguing that the regulations aren't strict enough for keeping medical marijuana from areas frequented by families and children.
Commissioners Becky Rheintgen, Bob Barnett and Sean P. Durkin voted against the restrictions.
State law allows municipalities to design "reasonable" zoning ordinances for dispensaries and cultivation. State law prohibits cultivation centers from locating within 2,500 feet of schools, day-care centers and residential zones, and requires that dispensaries be at least 1,000 feet away.
This proves particularly tricky for a town as heavily residential as Downers Grove, with as many schools.
The council also agreed to expand the restrictions to include parks near schools and daycare centers, which limits potential After requests that the council also add parks near schools and daycare centers to the restricted list, potential spots were limited to:
- Ellsworth Industrial Park
- areas near Ogden Avenue and Warrenville Road
Areas council identified as appropriate already serve as business use already, said Commissioner Geoff Neustadt.
"I certainly don't support the state law," Neustadt said. "But we're taking proactive steps to be ready for it."
Any medical marijuana business is required to apply and receive the council's approval for a special use permit. No applications have been submitted thus far, Neustadt said.
"If there is a potential dispensary, we'll have a chance to evaluate it," Neustadt said. "We still have the final say."
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