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Sycamore planning commission to discuss pot zoning

SYCAMORE – The Sycamore Planning and Zoning Commission will discuss how to best zone the potential areas for recreational marijuana sales at its meeting Monday evening.

The City Council voted, 4-2, in favor of allowing recreational marijuana to be sold within city limits Nov. 4, but now the city is considering where to place the dispensaries.

“The adult-use recreational marijuana dispensaries shall operate consistent with zoning ordinances regulating these business establishments,” according to the agenda.

The ordinances include the time, place, manner and number of marijuana business establishments, as well as the minimum distance limitations between dispensaries.

Kevin Buick, a Sycamore city attorney, said the recreational marijuana dispensaries may require special use permits, but special use permits are not unusual. Buick said “special use,” means the operation has to go through extra scrutiny.

Some of the proposed criteria for dispensaries include that it must be located a minimum of 1,000 feet in all directions from any pre-existing public or private preschool, elementary or secondary school, day care center, day care home, group day care home or part-day child care facility and cannot be in a residential zoned area.

Dispensaries also must:

• Have at least 1,500 feet between locations.

• Have no drive-thru lanes.

• Have business hours between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m.

• Have only one dispensary per 9,000 residents.

On premises smoking in a dispensary is prohibited, as are craft growers.

Buick said it was fair to say the C-3 zoning district, otherwise known as “Highway Business District,” is the most appropriate zoning district. The district was established to provide locations and standards for a range of retail, food service and service and repair businesses, according to the city of Sycamore’s Unified Development Ordinance, which sets out zoning regulations.

“Such districts shall be generally concentrated around intersections along arterial streets,” according to the development ordinance. Buick referred to Route 23 – which is a main road – to describe an arterial street.

“An arterial street moves traffic from one part of the city or county to another,” Buick said.

Buick said Sycamore has no intention of allowing marijuana smoking clubs or anything similar. However, he said he doesn’t know if that may change in the future.

“Who knows what the law will be in the future?” Buick said.

The commission meets at 7 p.m. Monday in the Council Chambers of the Sycamore City Center at 308 W. State St.

Source: The Daily Chronicle

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