Commission to act on cannabis zoning, dispensary permit

Phoenix Farms of Illinois, LLC is proposing a medicinal/adult-use cannabis dispensary in the former Border Cafe, and former Big Boy Restaurant, at 369 Lynch Drive.

DANVILLE – With less than two months until recreational cannabis becomes legal in Illinois, the Danville Area Planning and Zoning Commission Thursday will act on zoning ordinance changes to allow the sale of medicinal and adult-use cannabis in the city and on a permit for a dispensary.

The commission will consider amending the Danville Zoning Ordinance to add specific definitions and district-use regulations for medicinal and adult-use cannabis.

The commission also will consider approving a special-use permit for Phoenix Farms of Illinois LLC to allow for a medicinal/adult-use cannabis dispensing organization to be located at the former Border Café and Big Boy Restaurant at 369 Lynch Drive in the B3-general business zoned district. The site is 1.2 acres.

New definitions proposed for the zoning ordinance are for a medicinal/adult-use cannabis business establishment, dispensing organization, cultivation center and transporter in addition to adult-use cannabis craft grower, infuser and processor.

A medicinal/adult-use cannabis dispensing organization is “a facility operated by an organization or business that is licensed by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation to acquire cannabis from licensed cannabis business establishments for the purpose of selling or dispensing cannabis, cannabis-infused products, cannabis seeds, paraphernalia or related supplies to purchasers or to qualified registered medical cannabis patients and caregivers, per the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act and Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act, as they may be amended from time-to-time, and regulations promulgated thereunder.”

A cultivation center is licensed by the Illinois Department of Agriculture to cultivate, process, transport and perform necessary activities to provide cannabis and cannabis-infused products to licensed cannabis business establishments. A craft grower will cultivate, dry, cure and package cannabis.

In September, Danville Senior Planner Tyson Terhune suggested the city expand on its medical cannabis ordinance approved in 2014. Medical cannabis dispensaries, of which there are none in Danville, are allowed in B-3 general business zoning and also with a special-use permit in B-2 highway business zoning. Cultivation centers can locate in agriculture or in I-2 general industrial zoning.

Other zoning ordinance changes state cannabis location requirements, such as being so many feet away from schools, day cares, residential care homes, residential areas, in addition to dual medicinal and adult-use cannabis occupancy.

Cresco Labs, owner of Phoenix Farms of Illinois which would be doing business as Sunnyside intends to begin selling cannabis, cannabis-infused products including edibles, paraphernalia and related items to eligible purchasers next year with permissions. Proposed dispensary hours are 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week.

Interstate 74 runs 0.6 miles from the proposed location, and zoning paperwork further states about 2018 traffic volumes according to CoStar, the interstate sees about 16,483 vehicles a day and U.S. Route 136, 0.83 miles from the proposed location, sees about 6,172 vehicles a day.

Timetable for development: 16 weeks for design, permit review and construction. Two weeks then for training, prior to opening.

The Public Works staff recommendation is that the special-use designation for the dispensary on Lynch Road is consistent with the current character of the neighborhood. Concerns of consumption on site or nearby should be relieved by the structure of the ordinance and lack of public gathering spaces in the vicinity.

In other business Thursday, commission members will consider:

• A variance petition requested by Boulder Designs of Rantoul for a variance for a monument sign located at The Villas of Holly Brook Senior Living site finishing up construction at 2215 N. Bowman Ave. The variance would allow for increased square footage on the face of the sign.

According to Danville Senior Planner Tyson Terhune, “this change would be made to allow for a 50 percent increase on the square footage of the sign.” Zoning paperwork indicates the sign would be located 51 feet from the road, requiring a larger square footage for visibility. The sign won’t impede any visibility and is located approximately 300 feet from the closest property line, according to the paperwork. The sign will be about 37.5 square feet.

• A rezoning petition requested by Soul Garden Recovery Center to rezone 801 W. Fairchild St. and 816 W. Fairchild St. from P1-professional zoning to B3-general business zoning to allow for retail sales of pies and bakery items and also parking at those locations for the center. The properties are at Fairchild and Grant streets at the northwest and southwest corners. There is Public Works Department concern about spot zoning, with future uses of the property and potential disruption in that corridor.

• A rezoning petition requested by Omni Kolor to rezone 210 W. Williams St. and 443 Oak St. from R3-mixed residential to B3-general business to allow for a specialty school/motor vehicle painting service and continuation of current use.

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