Crystal Lake City Council approves medical marijuana restrictions, major road project

Road project also gets council’s OK

CRYSTAL LAKE – The Crystal Lake City Council opened the doors for two potential projects Tuesday, one with some reluctance and the other with eagerness.

In a unanimous vote, City Council members approved ordinances to restrict where cannabis cultivation centers and dispensaries could operate if one should look to open in the city. Mayor Aaron Shepley emphasized the ordinance was only to keep local control over how and where medical marijuana businesses could operate.

Under state law, marijuana dispensaries cannot be placed within 1,000 feet of a school, day care or child care facility. Dispensaries also can't be placed in residential-zoned areas or within a dwelling unit.

Cultivation centers cannot be placed within 2,500 feet of schools, child care facilities or any residential area. Additionally, Crystal Lake's proposal requires cultivation centers to be placed 50 feet away from all property lines.

The ordinance also includes strict security measures and mandates that any operation is located in manufacturing or agricultural districts.

Chances of landing a cultivation center already are slim as state law mandates there can be only one center in each of the 22 state police districts. McHenry County shares a police district with DeKalb, DuPage, Kane and Lake counties

While council members passed those ordinances out of necessity, they were much more eager to see the city address traffic issues at the intersection of Main Street and Route 176.

The proposed project would include a stoplight at the intersection, making it easier for commuters on Main Street to take a left turn on Route 176. The project also would include extending the right-turn lane on Route 176 to Main Street and constructing a left-turn lane on Main Street.

A reconstruction and repaving of Main Street would take place from the railroad tracks to Route 176.

The cost of the project would be at least $2.7 million with the city already securing $1.5 million in grants. The remaining amount would need to come from local funds and possibly the Illinois Department of Transportation.

Shepley said the project, which would not begin until 2017 at the earliest, is long overdue.

"If we can get a stoplight at Main Street and 176 it is worth every penny," Shepley said. "It is a safety issue."

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