Council denies rezoning, hears about cannabis grower

The Danville City Council tonight will consider

Jennifer Bailey|Commercial-News

A vehicle parked in one of the city’s downtown lots sports a ticket on its windshield. Danville City Council members decided Tuesday to increase downtown parking ticket fines.

DANVILLE – A rezoning for a business north of the city needed 10 aldermen votes, or 2/3 of the city council, for approval since the zoning commission earlier this month recommended denial by a 3-3 vote.

It didn’t receive it.

The Danville City Council voted 7-6 Tuesday night, with Ward 4 Alderman 4 Alderman Mike O’Kane absent, to approve a request from Robert Brennan with his Route 1 Store N Lock to rezone the property at 15952 Potters Woods Road from AG agriculture zoning to B2 highway business zoning to allow for automobile sales and continuation of current use. The vote meant the rezoning request was denied.

Aldermen voting against it were R.J. Davis, Dan Duncheon, James Poshard, Tom Stone, Robert Williams and Sherry Pickering.

Aldermen heard from several nearby residents who voiced concerns about lighting, traffic and other issues, mainly of what could go on the site, such as a gas station, if the owner sold the rezoned property.

The rezoning also conflicts with the city’s long-range comprehensive land-use plan and existing zoning of adjacent parcels, and there was the potential for spot zoning.

The property, north of the city, is within the city’s 1.5-mile zoning jurisdiction.

Brennan said about selling cars, “it’s kind of like a side job,” and the site would remain storage units well into the future.

Erin Hoff, who lives in that area on Old Seaton Hill Road, said there are lots of new families with children in that area. She also commented on the wildlife in the wooded area that could be impacted.

She doesn’t want to see it turned into a commercial area. She said it’s a nice, quiet neighborhood, and it's “scary” to think what business could go there in the future with the rezoning.

When Brennan bought the property, the use was grandfathered in. There was no zoning for the property until Wal-Mart was built, city officials said about the property's distance to the city's limits.

In other business, council members heard a presentation from Green Growth Group Inc.

It is seeking a special-use permit to allow for indoor craft cannabis cultivation in the I2 general industrial zoning district at warehouses at 202 and 204 Eastgate Drive.

The zoning commission will act on the permit request on March 5.

Simone Grimes with Green Growth Group said they plan to submit an license application to the state on March 13 for operation. The state is expected to issue licenses in July.

Aldermen learned the city won’t receive city sales tax from the business, but Green Growth is offering 3 percent on annual earnings before taxes to partner with the city on substance abuse prevention and other programs required by the state and community beautification/investment such as parks and other projects.

Mayor Rickey Williams Jr. said this could range from about $60,000 the first year to $300,000 after the third year.

Green Growth doesn’t sell directly to consumers, but plans to distribute the product to dispensaries across Illinois. Grimes said dispensaries don’t have sufficient supply and are seeing shortages.

She said they’ll have 25 new full-time jobs, with the plan to hire locally. They’ll have an experienced master grower and lab technicians.

“It’s a very high-tech environment,” Grimes said.

Green Growth’s Grimes and Gary Oliver said they’ll be a good neighbor. They won’t have signage, their transportation vehicles will be low profile and will be tracked and there will be several security layers.

It would start out with 5,000 square feet of space and grow in phases to 17,400 square feet.

About 70 percent will be for infused products, with the remaining 30 percent flower product.

“Thank you for choosing Danville,” said Duncheon.

The council, by a 9-4 vote, also approved increasing parking violation ticket fees in the downtown area. Aldermen Brenda Brown, James Poshard, Tom Stone and Robert Williams voted against it.

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