Will County toughens restrictions on future pot dispensaries
By Susan DeMar Lafferty email@example.com March 20, 2014 7:30PM
Updated: April 22, 2014 6:40AM
Will County officials on Thursday amended the zoning code to allow for marijuana cultivation and dispensing centers in agricultural and industrial areas, essentially mirroring state law.
On an 18-6 vote, however, the board imposed additional restrictions on dispensing centers, requiring a special-use permit and a public hearing.
No special-use permit is needed for cultivation centers, which will be a permitted use within agricultural and industrial areas but may not be within 2,500 feet of a school, day care center or a residential area.
Dispensaries will be allowed in commercial areas as well as agricultural and industrial areas but may not be within 1,000 feet of a school, day care center or in an area zoned for residential use.
“This is the beginning of the legalization of marijuana. We need to establish good rules now. Going forward, many of these rules will be relaxed,” said board member Jim Moustis, R-Frankfort Square.
The state has strict regulations for cultivation centers and “we did not want them to go through any more hoops,” said board member Tom Weigel, R-New Lenox, chairman of the board’s land use committee.
By requiring a special-use permit for dispensing centers, the county will be able to review each applicant, conduct a public hearing and regulate its hours, parking and signs, Weigel said.
Board member Bob Howard, D-Beecher, voted against it, saying a medical marijuana dispensary is “no different than any other medical dispensary.”
With the potential for income that such facilities would bring, “we should make it as easy as possible for business to come here,” he said.