Zoning proposed for recreational marijuana

Village takes steps toward bringing cannabis to town

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By Maria Maxham

Forest Park moves closer to bringing the production and sale of recreational marijuana to town by taking the first steps toward zoning for cannabis-related businesses.

The Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) will hold a public hearing on Dec. 17 at Forest Park Village Hall, 517 Desplaines Ave., 7 p.m., to consider zoning amendments related to recreational marijuana in the village.

Five proposed changes to already existing code will be discussed in consideration of a request by the village of Forest Park, the petitioner.

The first proposed change establishes definitions of the types of cannabis-related operations to be zoned. They include the following:

  • Adult-Use Cannabis Business Establishment
  • Adult-Use Cannabis Craft Grower
  • Adult-Use Cannabis Dispensing Organization
  • Adult-Use Cannabis Infuser Organization
  • Adult-Use Cannabis Processing Organization
  • Adult-Use Cannabis Transporting Organization

The other changes involve designating where recreational marijuana dispensaries and processing facilities can open, and whether these businesses will be zoned as permitted or conditional use. 

Conditional use is given to business types that can apply to open and operate in the appropriate zone but must first be approved in two public meetings, one held by the ZBA and one by the village council. At these meetings, the public is invited to attend and voice opinions, but the board or council make the final decision through a vote.

Notice of the public hearing for a conditional-use application/hearing is sent to every taxpayer within 200 feet of the proposed business, and a notice is run in the newspaper.

Permitted use allows businesses to open "by right," meaning that the two public meetings required for conditional-use businesses do not apply.

Following is a breakdown of the proposed zoning for recreational cannabis:

Community Shopping District

In these areas, adult-use cannabis dispensing organizations will be added as conditional use within a 500-foot distance of schools and churches. This district includes sections of Roosevelt Road and Harlem Avenue.

Light Industrial District

In the light industrial district, growing, cultivating, infusing, processing and transporting cannabis businesses will be allowed as conditional use. This district includes the area south of Roosevelt Road to 16th Street between Hannah Avenue and Circle Avenue.

Downtown Business District

In the DBD, marijuana dispensaries will be allowed as conditional use. The DBD is primarily the Madison Street shopping area of Forest Park.

Heavy Industrial District

In the heavy industrial district, growing, cultivation, dispensing, infusing, processing and transporting will be a permitted use. This district includes the Forest Park Mall on Roosevelt Road and the U.S. Postal Service facility. It also includes the businesses along Industrial Drive.

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