In a split, 4-2 ballot, the board voted to award a special use permit to Cloud 9 Dispensary which will occupy a former fast food restaurant at 2420 Route 30 in the Townes Crossing shopping center, east of Douglas Road.
The board chose the Cloud 9 Dispensary proposal over another one submitted by Catalyst Cannabis, which proposed to open a dispensary just west of Douglas Road south of Route 30 at 260 North Merchants Drive.
The board could not approve both permit requests since the two dispensary sites are located within 1,500 feet of each other, which would have been a violation of state law.
As a result, the board considered both proposals and then voted to award the permit to Cloud 9 Dispensary.
Both proposals had previously received recommendations for board approval at separate village planning and zoning commission meetings.
Rod Zenner, the village’s development services director, told the board that after reviewing both proposals, village staff recommended Cloud 9 Dispensary over Catalyst Cannabis due to the extensive amount of repairs and remodeling that would be required at the Catalyst site.
“Both of these locations would be great for their proposed use,” Zenner said. “The main difference we looked at was the ability to get this up and running quickly.”
After hearing the staff recommendation, Village Board members questioned Zenner and Roger Koeppen, representing Cloud 9 Dispensary, and Elliot Lewis CEO for Catalyst Cannabis.
Board member Kit Kuhrt questioned the construction timeline of each project.
Koeppen told the board that Cloud 9 could be operational by March and Lewis said Catalyst Cannabis would expect to open by June.
Lewis also raised doubt to the timeline presented by Koeppen, saying, “I’m not buying the March date.”
Board members Kit Kuhrt and Brian Thomas cast the no votes on the motion to award the special use permit to the Cloud 9 Dispensary.
During a straw poll the board conducted before the final vote, Kuhrt said he was leaning towards Catalyst Cannabis due to their experience.
“At the end of the day, I can’t go with a company that doesn’t have an open location,” Kuhrt said. “I’m going to go with Catalyst.”
A 2019 survey conducted by the village showed strong community support for cannabis retail business in Oswego. The survey had 1,345 respondents, of whom 88% self-identified as Oswego residents.
The survey data showed 84% of respondents supported medical dispensaries, 80% support a local tax on cannabis products, 73% showed support for recreational dispensaries and 60% supported cannabis cafés or smoke lounges.
Source: The Daily Chronicle