Lansing reviewing zoning restrictions for medical marijuana facilities

2014-03-04T22:54:00Z 2014-03-05T00:08:10Z Lansing reviewing zoning restrictions for medical marijuana facilitiesGregory Tejeda Times Correspondent nwitimes.com
March 04, 2014 10:54 pm  • 

LANSING | Municipal officials are reviewing possible restrictions they would want to impose on any facilities associated with medical marijuana use that might someday want to locate within the village.

Illinois law was altered as of Jan. 1 to permit certain people to legally purchase marijuana for use as a medical treatment, and the state declared a specific number of facilities across the state where the marijuana would be grown and then sold to those with prescriptions.

But it would be up to local officials to determine where the facilities could be placed within their boundaries. State law says the cultivation sites would have to be 2,500 feet away from homes or schools, while the stores where it would be sold would have to be at least 1,000 feet from such places.

Village Administrator J. Wynsma said that within Lansing, there are only a few plots of land on the far west and north edges of the village that would comply. Those sites currently are zoned for manufacturing use.

That is why village officials are reviewing their zoning restrictions to see how they would have to be altered. Village Attorney Timothy Lapp said the village’s Planning and Zoning Board of Appeals would have to review any changes before trustees could take a final vote.

Some rules would have to be approved this spring by the Village Board, even if they become very strict rules.

“We can’t absolutely forbid them from being in the village,” Lapp said. “Our job is to say, ‘You can go there,’ and we put in reasonable regulations.”

Officials said the village currently is making sure it is aware of the site of every school and day care facility within Lansing, which is complicated because some of them are licensed by the state even though they operate out of private homes.

Village President Norm Abbott said he wants to be sure zoning regulations comply with the state law on this issue.

Lansing is far from the first local community to deal with the issue. The Village Board in Sauk Village approved changes in its zoning in January. Lansing Trustee Mikal Stole said municipal officials are using Sauk Village’s efforts as a guide.

In South Holland, Village Administrator Jason Huisman said the issue now is being discussed by municipal staff, and that the Village Board could be asked to approve new zoning regulations in the spring.

“We want to ensure we put proper public safety regulations in place,” he said.

Calumet City Mayor Michelle Markiewicz Qualkinbush said city officials have not yet discussed the issue.

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