Cannabis dispensaries allowed under Illinois' new medical marijuana law may be making their way to Oak Park but could be limited to the village's hospital district.
Craig Failor, village planner, told village trustees that the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act, which took effect Jan. 1, allows for 22 cannabis cultivation centers throughout the state and 60 dispensing sites. Cultivation centers would not be allowed in Oak Park because the grow sites are prohibited from being located within 2,500 feet of a school, daycare center or home, or a residential area.
"On the cultivation side, the restrictions are so great that there are no locations within the village of Oak Park where they could construct a cultivation center," Failor said.
The restrictions for distribution centers, however, are less. Centers are prohibited from opening within 1,000 feet of a school or daycare center. They cannot be dispensed out of a residential home either.
Failor said staff recommends amending the village's zoning ordinance to allow such distribution centers in hospital districts and non-residential commercial districts.
"The only C commercial district and hospital district section that you'll find in the community that is relevant would be at Harlem and Madison," he said. "We're also suggesting that they be restricted from the perimeter overlay districts, which means not on North Avenue, Roosevelt Road, not along Harlem and not along Austin. So it is very limited where they can go."
The recommendations were sent to the Village Plan Commission for further consideration.
Failor noted that the village should be mindful of distribution centers that could open in neighboring communities.
"We also don't know what is in the neighboring communities of Forest Park, Chicago and Berwyn, as far as their schools, their daycare centers, so it could be more restrictive on our side of the boundary because the act is not boundary specific," he said. "The onus is on the facility to determine that they are meeting or not meeting the restrictions in the act and the local zoning restrictions."
Village trustees unanimously approved a special liquor license for a proposed microbrewery and hamburger restaurant that plans to open sometime this year in the Pleasant District.
Oak Park Brewing Company/Hamburger Mary's revealed plans last week to open shop at 1111-1113 South Blvd.
The special microbrewery liquor license is contingent on the company purchasing the historic building that is now used as office space.
"We're creating it for them because they are going to be closing on the location," Trustee Adam Salzman said. "What will happen is we will create the category, but it will not become effective until the close [on the deal]."