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Woodstock mulls marijuana zoning restrictions

Woodstock wants to restrict where dispensaries, growing centers can be

Published: Saturday, Nov. 2, 2013 10:52 p.m. CDT

WOODSTOCK – Officials want to put zoning restrictions on medical marijuana dispensaries and cultivation centers should any take interest in Woodstock.

Proposed changes to the city’s unified development ordinance would require any entrepreneur with an interest in opening either type of facility to first acquire a special use permit. The distinction would allow public input should someone apply.

“Our point in proposing the ordinance was to allow the use in certain zoning districts,” Planning & Zoning Administrator Jim Kastner said. “But also to create an opportunity for public input and public review of a proposed location.”

The state’s law – which will go into effect Jan. 1 but will likely take months to reach patients, officials have said – allows for up to 22 cultivation centers in the state, with a limit of one per state police district. McHenry County is grouped in district two with Lake, DeKalb and Kane counties.

Should such a center want to open in Woodstock, under the proposed ordinance it would need to be in an agricultural, light manufacturing or heavy manufacturing district.

A marijuana dispensary – of which the state will allow up to 60 – would need to be in a general business district, service and retail district or shopping center district.

State law already places restrictions on where dispensaries and cultivation centers can be placed. Dispensaries must be at least 1,000 feet from schools, day care centers and residential areas, while cultivation centers have to be at least 2,500 feet away from schools, day cares and residential areas.

Under the law, which Gov. Pat Quinn signed in August, municipalities aren’t allowed to ban marijuana facilities but can enact restrictions.

“Our ordinance is primarily looking at it from a land-use perspective and where you can put it,” Kastner said.

The city’s plan commission unanimously approved the changes at a public hearing in October and will forward the recommendation to the Woodstock City Council for consideration on Nov. 19.

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