At yesterday’s Naperville City Council meeting, the main topic was the process for future discussion on zoning for adult-use cannabis dispensaries.
In a non-binding referendum on the March ballot, Naperville residents voted in favor of allowing cannabis sales with a 53% majority. And though it appears the city will opt in eventually, as at least five council members either support opting in or have said they will vote with the majority of residents, it’s still unclear when that vote will occur.
Vote Before Zoning…
Some felt it should happen before city staff looks into cannabis zoning recommendations, otherwise the question will linger over the entire discussion.
“In my opinion, this process is going to go far more smoothly if we can get the initial question out of the way,” said Councilman Kevin Coyne. “Because if we don’t do that, throughout this entire process we’re going to be bogged down with this broader question, ‘should we have the stores or not?’”
Others, along with city staff, felt it would be better to draw up some regulations first, so the public knows there will be a limit on the number of stores and where they will be allowed.
“To opt in with no plan in sight, with no parameters around what an opt in would look like, I don’t think that does a service for our community,” said Councilwoman Theresa Sullivan. “I think figuring out how this would look so that when we do take that final vote of opt in or opt out, we know what we’re opting in to.”
Engaging the Public
The other concern was how to involve the public in the discussion. Several council members felt an open house could be safely planned, but others said they’d rather do so in a workshop, where there are rules for decorum.
Council voted 6-3 to go forward with staff’s suggestion of voting after zoning parameters are set, and to do so including a workshop during a council meeting as opposed to an open house.
Naperville News 17’s Casey Krajewski reports.
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