Wauconda officials fine-tuning zoning rules for pot businesses

  • Wauconda officials are finalizing rules for marijuana dispensaries and other cannabis-related businesses. Such businesses will be legal in Illinois starting Jan. 1.

    Wauconda officials are finalizing rules for marijuana dispensaries and other cannabis-related businesses. Such businesses will be legal in Illinois starting Jan. 1. Associated Press Photo

Updated 10/25/2019 8:13 PM

Wauconda officials are fine-tuning proposed zoning regulations for businesses that would grow, process or sell marijuana or marijuana-derived products.

In the latest version of the plan, entrepreneurs would need conditional use permits to open marijuana-related businesses in town, regardless of whether their intended customers want the drug for medicinal or recreational use.


Also, marijuana dispensaries would be limited to retail business or general business zones. Growing centers would be allowed only in the village's limited industrial and agricultural zones.

And operations for processing, infusing or transporting marijuana would be allowed only in limited industrial zones.

The proposal also would forbid dispensaries within 500 feet of schools, parks, churches or child care facilities. An earlier draft set the limit at 1,000 feet.

Additionally, dispensaries would not be allowed within 1,500 feet of each other. No such rule is proposed for other types of marijuana businesses.

Business hours would be set by the village board as part of the conditional permit. And only two of each type of marijuana-related business would be allowed to operate in town.

The proposal also would set rules for parking, signs and other aspects of business operations.

Mayor Lincoln Knight said the proposal would protect the village and residents "while still making a case for interested parties to succeed here."

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Starting Jan. 1, anyone 21 or older in Illinois can possess up to 30 grams of cannabis, 5 grams of cannabis concentrate and 500 milligrams of tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC.

State-licensed growing, cultivating and sales facilities will be allowed, too. But individual communities can restrict or ban those businesses.

Village Trustee Tim Howe has advocated for allowing -- but regulating -- local marijuana businesses. He realizes some people strongly oppose allowing such businesses in Wauconda, but he noted that those objections really have concerned the drug's controversial legalization.

"While they may be valid concerns, that ship has sailed," Howe said.

Wauconda's village's license and administration committee will discuss the latest draft of the proposal at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday at village hall, 101 N. Main St.

Once the proposed regulations clear the committee, they'll be reviewed by the village's zoning board. That could happen Nov. 20.

The village board could review and approve the proposed rules as soon as its Dec. 3 meeting, Village Administrator Kevin Timony said.


The issue hasn't raised much public fervor in Wauconda, unlike similar debates in other communities.

In Libertyville, Mundelein, Buffalo Grove and elsewhere, dozens of people on both sides of the issue have attended board discussions and tried to persuade officials to either approve or reject marijuana-related businesses. But public interest in Wauconda has been minimal.

Only two visitors attended a license and administration committee discussion of the plan this week, Timony said, and neither spoke when given the opportunity.

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