YORKVILLE – Yorkville city officials talked through possible zoning regulations if the city were to opt in to recreational adult use cannabis sales during their meeting this week.
The City Council reviewed what it would want to see in a zoning ordinance text amendment for adult use cannabis during its regular meeting Tuesday, Oct. 9. Ward 4 Alderman Jason Peterson was absent from the meeting.
Krysti Noble, community development director for the city of Yorkville, said staff recommendations for the ordinance originally included a 2,500-foot setback from residences, schools and churches for cultivation centers and infuseries, along with a 1,000-foot setback for dispensaries. She said staff is also recommending allowing only one site per business type to start.
“Staff is seeking some direction before the public hearing on this [and going] before the planning and zoning commission,” Noble said.
The update comes after the City Council approved a retail cannabis tax ordinance during its regular meeting on Sept. 24. The ordinance imposes a 3% sales tax on recreational adult use cannabis sales in the city, in addition to the city’s already established sales tax.
The city has not officially opted in or out of recreational marijuana sales within city limits.
The proposed districts staff is recommending for special uses related to adult use cannabis include A-1 Agricultural for craft growing and cultivating, B-3 General Business for dispensing, and M-1 Limited Manufacturing and M-2 General Manufacturing for all three types of recreational cannabis businesses.
Yorkville City Administrator Bart Olson said making those types of businesses special uses would mean there would be a public hearing for every time somebody applies to open up those types of shops within city limits. He said the thorough application process also includes a context review of the proposed site and business.
“So it’s not just that they can show up to our door and land in a strip mall without any City Council review of it,” Olson said.
Yorkville Ward 3 Alderman Joel Frieders said he has no issue with making those types of businesses special uses within those districts. He said he could even see infuseries occupying vacant restaurant space in B-3 General Business zones, since the two types of businesses would use similar equipment.
Frieders said he also would like to see more businesses allowed beyond the one site per business type. He said he could think of four different types of areas in town that have open spaces that dispensaries could occupy, including the area west on Route 34 by Target, the center of town at Routes 34 and 47, the downtown area and the south side of town.
“All they would really need is a lease, a license, some security and some inventory and they could legitimately open business as soon as it’s available,” Frieders said. “ ... If we’re going to be hospitable to these types of businesses, we should be hospitable.”
Yorkville Ward 3 Alderman Chris Funkhouser said he’s more inclined to drop the setbacks as presented, despite him not being sure whether he would be in favor of the city totally opting in for those sales. He said he would propose all of those types of businesses being 250 feet away from residences, regardless if those residences are incorporated or unincorporated, and 500 feet away from public parks, churches and schools.
“I just think that it’s over restrictive,” Funkhouser said.
Yorkville resident Rick Hanna said during public comment for the meeting that his family originally came to the city because it was family friendly and a great atmosphere. He said he is concerned with how allowing the sales of recreational adult use cannabis businesses in town would affect the Yorkville brand.
“And to be so overeager for tax revenues in this type of business in this community extremely disappoints me, that that is not being considered as part of your decision-making process,” Hanna said.
After taking those additional points into consideration in creating the ordinance, Olson said, next steps include the city holding a public hearing for the ordinance. He said that is anticipated to come before the city’s planning and zoning commission meeting scheduled for Nov. 13.