YORKVILLE – Kendall County officials now are getting into the thick of the weeds when it comes to recreational marijuana zoning in unincorporated areas.
Members of the county's regional planning commission and the county's planning, building and zoning committee came together for a combined special meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 10 to talk about what zoning may look like for recreational marijuana in the county. All members of the committee were present for the meeting and one member of the commission, Bill Davis, was absent.
County officials previously said they wanted to get the county's nine townships directly involved in the conversation for the zoning ordinance amendment of adult use cannabis, which heavily derives from a template ordinance from the Illinois Municipal League. They have said that's because townships are not well-represented in the state law, or not nearly as much as counties or municipalities.
NaAuSay Township Supervisor Brad Blocker said there aren't a lot of places in the township with zoning areas B-3 Highway Business and M-1 Limited Manufacturing, where craft growers could collocate dispensing and infusing organizations, and the township is otherwise satisfied with the information provided to them by the county. However, he said, he questions the county's logic of using 1,000-foot setbacks for marijuana because those are the same setbacks used for gun ranges in the county, when he would rather those setbacks to be consistent with craft breweries.
"I just think it’s weird to use that as a comparison," Blocker said.
County officials said in response to Blocker's comment that the correlation was only that both could be objectionable uses within county zoning.
Kendall Township Supervisor Steve Gengler said he agrees with some limitations being put on the special use for B-3 lots. He said no one within his township ever thought marijuana dispensaries would end up in lots zoned that way, since they were initially meant for repair shops or agricultural supply stores, for example.
"I agree with the B-3 being taken out and just leaving in the M-1s," Gengler said.
Jackie Kowalski, village president for Millbrook, attended part of the meeting and did not offer public comment.
Matthew Asselmeier, senior planner for Kendall County Planning, Building and Zoning, said other township officials, including Oswego Township, told him they would forward comments along to county officials in lieu of attending the meeting.
"But no one has submitted anything in writing," Asselmeier said.
Committee member Judy Gilmour said some township governments had their own meetings at the same time as the special combined meeting.
Committee chairman Matt Prochaska said townships will still have 30 days to submit any written objections they may have to whatever zoning ordinance amendments the county would make for adult use cannabis.
Some points the committee has taken into consideration about the zoning ordinance so far included whether recreational cannabis businesses could operate in stand-alone buildings or a strip mall. Other considerations included making groweries, dispensaries and infusing businesses special uses for certain zones in the county, banning on-site cannabis consumption at dispensaries and questioning how financial operations work for something that is still illegal at the federal level.
Next steps regarding the recreational marijuana zoning amendment include it going before the regional planning commission during their 7 p.m. Sept. 25 meeting. The proposed zoning amendment would then go to the county zoning board of appeals hearing at 7 p.m. Sept. 30 for a public hearing and is set to come back to the planning, building and zoning committee in November.
The zoning comments come after the county board’s law, justice and legislation committee voted, 3-2, to approve an ordinance prohibiting marijuana business establishments altogether during their regular meeting Monday, Sept. 9. The adult use cannabis is set to be on the agenda for the county's next committee of the whole meeting, scheduled for 4 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 12, at the county office building, 111 W. Fox St., Yorkville.