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Local News

Kendall County Board panel to seek township input on marijuana ordinance


YORKVILLE – Members of the Kendall County Board's planning, building and zoning committee are passing along a framework for the county's adult use cannabis zoning ordinance and expressed interest in looping townships into the conversation.

Matt Prochaska, committee chairman, said during the committee's Monday, Aug. 26, meeting that it is moving along a draft recreational marijuana zoning ordinance, modeled on a template created by the Illinois Municipal League. He said committee members also anticipate that the ordinance as it is will not look the same once the process is complete.

"This is going to be a monster," Prochaska said.

County officials said they wanted to get the county's nine townships involved in the conversation because they are not well-represented in the law, or not nearly as much as counties or municipalities.

The next special meeting, which is set to include other county zoning officials' input along with township officials, is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Sept. 10 at the county office building, 111 W. Fox St., in Yorkville.

The state of Illinois has legalized the sale and consumption of recreational cannabis effective Jan. 1. Under the legislation, Kendall County has the authority to decide whether to allow cannabis producers and retailers to locate within unincorporated areas of the county and to impose additional regulations.

Beth Whitley, outreach representative for Compassionate Care Center medical marijuana dispensary in Naperville who spoke during the Monday, Aug. 26 meeting, said one of the parts of the state's recreational marijuana program will include a DUI task force through the Illinois State Police that will start Jan. 1, but they don't anticipate those types of regulations going into effect until July.

"So they will just be gathering data for the first six-ish months on what they think would be a realistic way to handle driver and roadside tests and as far as testing for DUIs," Whitley said.

Kendall County Administrator Scott Koeppel said that while the county doesn't have any medical marijuana dispensaries that would get first choice at recreational licenses, new recreational marijuana businesses will start applying for 75 available licenses from the state. Those applications are due Oct. 1. He said part of the application process for those potential recreational marijuana dispensaries is to have a set proposed location in a place that already has those zoning regulations settled.

"So that's why the sooner we can get our zoning done, if somebody did come to us for permission, we can tell them the rules, they can apply for it as part of them getting their license and then those licenses from the state won't be issued from the state until May 2020," Koeppel said.

Some points the committee has taken into consideration about the zoning ordinance included whether recreational cannabis businesses could operate in stand-alone buildings or a strip mall, along with banning of on-site cannabis consumption at dispensaries.

A public hearing for the recreational marijuana zoning ordinance, which would allow more interaction between the public and county officials, is anticipated to be during the county's zoning board of appeals meeting scheduled for 7 p.m. Sept. 30.

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