Towns preparing zoning for pot dispensaries
BY LAURA PAVIN Special to The News-Sun January 18, 2013 6:26PM
Medical marijuana patient Kevin Brown smells the products at The Apothecarium Medical Cannabis Dispensary in San Francisco. Medical marijuana dispensaries are located in states where people can use with a doctor's recommendation. | AP
Updated: March 20, 2013 3:11AM
KILDEER — Kildeer officials are joining other Lake County communities to determine how to zone medical marijuana facilities if they become legal in Illinois.
Grayslake has taken action on the matter, while similar discussions are already underway in Barrington and Buffalo Grove.
Though the proposal in Springfield wasn’t acted upon before state lawmakers’ lame-duck session closed, Kildeer Village Administrator Michael Talbett said it’s possible the bill could return in the next session. If the proposal eventually passes, it will allow medical marijuana dispensaries to open across the state.
With zoning debates underway, Talbett said that Kildeer will be ready for it.
“The state, in effect, would be telling us ‘we are going to establish these things, and we are going to have to put them somewhere — we may put them in your village,’” Talbett said. “If they do that, we want to make sure we have some say-so in this.”
For Kildeer and many other area municipalities, having a “say-so” means imposing zoning restrictions to limit where dispensaries can set up shop.
While municipalities cannot override a potential state law allowing these facilities, local governments do have the power to control their location.
Talbett said this groundwork is important because no one knows how the facilities would be laid out and what kind of local impact they would bring. The Kildeer officials aim to make sure their concerns are taken into account before medical marijuana dispensaries can be established, Talbett explained.
He noted that a dispensary would automatically fall into the village’s commercial space zoning. The village plans to require “special use” provisions to require those planning to open a facility to go through a more involved review process, including a public hearing, followed by a review from the plan commission and then from the Village Board.
Talbett added the village would want to consider a number of factors before it would grant that kind of facility a special-use permit.
“The state can do whatever it wants in regards to this, but by taking these steps, we are sending a signal that we are concerned about it and we want to make sure that it gets the attention it deserves,” Talbett said.
Like Barrington, the village is still only in preliminary discussions.
Barrington also convened a special board meeting in January, in which its trustees granted its Plan Commission approval to consider zoning recommendations for medical marijuana dispensaries.