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Plan Commission Minutes

VILLAGE OF NORTH AURORA
PLAN COMMISSION MEETING MINUTES
OCTOBER 1, 2019

CALL TO ORDER
Chairman Brackett called the meeting to order.

ROLL CALL
In attendance: Chairman Mike Brackett, Co-chairman Jennifer Duncan, Commissioners Mark Rivecco, Connie Holbrook, Mark Bozik, Doug Botkin, Anna Tuohy, Aaron Anderson and Mark Rivecco.

Staff in attendance: Village Administrator Steve Bosco, Community & Economic Development Director Mike Toth and Village Clerk Lori Murray.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES
1. Approval of Plan Commission Minutes dated September 3, 2019
Motion for approval made by Commissioner Lenkart and seconded by Commissioner Bozik. All in favor. Motion approved.

PUBLIC HEARING
Chairman Brackett opened the public hearing. There were no audience comments. The public hearing was then closed.

1. Petition #19-07 The Village requests amending Title 17 of the North Aurora
Municipal Code (Zoning Ordinance) as follows:

1) Title 17.8.2 to allow Recreational Cannabis Dispensaries in the District B-1 – Community Business District, B-2 – General Business District and B-3 – Central Business District as a special use.
2) Title 17.9.2 to allow Recreational Cannabis Dispensaries in the I-1 - Limited Industrial District, I-2 – General Industrial District and I-3 – Central Industrial District as a special use.
3) Title 17.9.2 to allow Cannabis Craft Growers, Cannabis Infuser Organizations, Cannabis Processing Organizations, and Cannabis Transporting Organizations in the I-2 – General Industrial District as a special use.
4) Title 17.10.2 to allow Recreational Cannabis Dispensaries in the O-R -Office and Research District and O-R-I – Office Research and Light Industrial District as a special use.
5) Title 17.11.2 to establish buffer requirements for Recreational Cannabis Dispensaries from the perimeter of school grounds, a playground, a recreation center or facility, a child care center, a public park or public library, or a game arcade to which admission is not restricted to persons 21 years of age or older.
6) Title 17.11.2 to prohibit on-site consumption of cannabis as part of any permitted or conditional use.

NEW BUSINESS
1. Petition #19-07 The Village requests amending Title 17 of the North Aurora
Municipal Code (Zoning Ordinance) as follows:

1) Title 17.8.2 to allow Recreational Cannabis Dispensaries in the District B-1 – Community Business District, B-2 – General Business District and B-3 – Central Business District as a special use.
2) Title 17.9.2 to allow Recreational Cannabis Dispensaries in the I-1 - Limited Industrial District, I-2 – General Industrial District and I-3 – Central Industrial District as a special use.
3) Title 17.9.2 to allow Cannabis Craft Growers, Cannabis Infuser Organizations, Cannabis Processing Organizations, and Cannabis Transporting Organizations in the I-2 – General Industrial District as a special use.
4) Title 17.10.2 to allow Recreational Cannabis Dispensaries in the O-R -Office and Research District and O-R-I – Office Research and Light Industrial District as a special use.
5) Title 17.11.2 to establish buffer requirements for Recreational Cannabis Dispensaries from the perimeter of school grounds, a playground, a recreation center or facility, a child care center, a public park or public library, or a game arcade to which admission is not restricted to persons 21 years of age or older.
6) Title 17.11.2 to prohibit on-site consumption of cannabis as part of any permitted or conditional use.

Mike Toth stated that in 2014 the Village adopted Zoning Ordinance provisions that allowed medical dispensaries as a permitted use in all non-residential districts and cultivation centers as a special use in the I-2 District. Medical dispensaries are not allowed in residential districts. At one time there was a 1,000 foot buffer requirement from schools, parks and daycares. That is no longer the case and any dispensary opening after July 1, 2019 is no longer subject to the provisions of the separation requirement.

The last Plan Commission meeting was held on September 3rd. At that time, discussion centered on several questions from staff:

1) Whether they would want to limit the number of recreational cannabis dispensaries?
2) If there is a particular zoning district appropriate for recreational cannabis dispensaries?
3) Whether recreational cannabis dispensaries should be a permitted or special use?
4) Whether the Village should adopt setbacks for setbacks from schools, parks, and day cares?

For the public hearing this evening, staff is proposing recreational cannabis dispensaries in all non-residential zoning districts.

Commissioner Duncan said she would not be averse to keeping the 1,000 foot setback in place. Duncan said that the buffer would be a way to control the number of dispensaries in the Village.

Duncan asked if the Board was firm on not having anything but dispensaries. Toth said that at the last Board meeting, the trustees focused the conversation around the dispensaries. That is not to say that they were not interested in the other uses. Bosco said that since the Village currently has a dispensary in town that is already petitioning to open a recreational dispensary and January 1st is right around the corner. Staff wanted to see how the Board felt about recreational marijuana in general in the community. Bosco said that if anyone wants to come forward and wants to open something that is not permitted, it will still open up the process to make a text amendment to the zoning code.

Commissioner Botkin said that he was fine with not having a buffer because it would be more rigorous than the medical dispensaries. Mike Toth noted that the State regulation requiring the dispensaries to be 1,500 feet apart is still in place as part of the Regulation Tax Act. Toth noted that if the Plan Commission so desired, they could memorialize the 1,500 foot separation in the code, in the event that the state removes it.

Chairman Brackett asked how the Commission felt about memorializing the 1,500 foot setback.
Rivecco – in favor, Tuohy – in favor, Anderson – could vote either way, Lenkart – could vote either way, Duncan – in favor, Holbrook – in favor, Bozik – could vote either way, Botkin – in favor. (In favor – 5, either way – 3)

Commissioner Bozik asked if there is still an advertising setback. Toth said yes and that the setback is 1,000 feet for the advertisement of cannabis products. Bozik said that if we keep the 1,000 foot radius, how it would affect home daycares that are licensed by DCFS. Toth said that the buffer map includes those private residences. Bozik said his concern is that someone who is not in favor of the dispensaries could decide to get a license for a daycare which would in turn not allow a dispensary to open in a specific location. Bozik suggested removing the 1,000 foot radius and address this as a special use.

Commissioner Holbrook asked if the 1,500 foot buffer is just between dispensaries. Toth said yes. Holbrook said she is in favor of keeping the 1,000 foot buffer.

Bosco noted that the buffer does not just mean the distance, but the make up as well. The Commission can add residential or remove daycares or parks. It can be designed around what the Village wants.

Commissioner Lenkart asked if staff had determined what the maximum number of dispensaries would be with a 1,000 foot buffer and the 1,500 foot separation versus without the 1,000 foot buffer. Toth said that analyzed the GIS map but did not get an approximate number. Toth then referenced the scale on the map as a way to gauge the potential separation between dispensaries. Toth noted that in working with some groups that are looking to come into town, they are having problems finding properties since the buffers are in place. Lenkart said he didn’t think the 1,000 foot buffer was needed and that by dropping that buffer, the potential locations for the dispensaries would not increase. Bosco said that without the buffer, it would open up availability to three commercial areas: Randall Commons (Orchard & Randall), Chesterfield Plaza (Butterfield & Mitchell) and State & 31.

Chairman Brackett said the Commission is struggling with keeping it clean, but not making it difficult for the businesses to succeed.

Commissioner Anderson said he agreed with a lot of what was said and was in agreement that the buffer could be removed. If this is not going to be a permitted use and going to be a special use. State law does a good job setting out what the parameters are. Anderson said in terms of memorializing the 1,500 foot setback, he could go either way and wants to give businesses the full value of state law as it exists. Specifics can still be addressed through the special use process.

Commissioner Tuohy agreed with Commissioner Duncan and was in favor of keeping setbacks. Tuohy said that the residents she has spoken to so far have not been too friendly about the idea of having the dispensaries in town.

Commissioner Rivecco said he was in favor of the buffers being only around schools.

Duncan said we also need to think about property values and how this will affect our homes.

The commission voted on the six items in the petition:
Amendment #1 as written. Motion for approval made by Commissioner Botkin and second by Commissioner Bozik): All vote yes.

Amendment #2 as written. Motion for approval made by Commissioner Bozik and seconded by Commissioner Botkin: All vote yes.

Amendment #3 as written. Motion for approval made by Commissioner Holbrook and seconded by Commissioner Bozik: All vote yes.

Amendment #4 as written. Motion for approval made by Commissioner Duncan and seconded by Commissioner Holbrook: All vote yes.

Amendment #6 as written. Motion for approval made by Commissioner Tuohy and seconded by Commissioner Rivecco: all vote yes.

The Plan Commission was in agreement with items 1, 2, 3, 4 and 6. Further discussion was needed for Amendment #5.

Chairman Brackett asked who would be in favor of dropping the 1,000 foot buffer, with the exception of the four public schools.

Commissioner Botkin said that these items could be addressed through the special use process.

Bozik said if we look at where the schools are and where the parks are, the majority are based in residential areas. The commercial areas are designed to be easy access to get into. Someone coming in, unless they are looking for a problem, will come in, do their shopping and leave. The threat is very minimal. Bozik questioned, “Are we looking to what we could do best or are we trying to appease what we think some of the backlash may be? What other business do we have that we regulate, with the exception of adult bookstores that have regulations like we are trying to place on recreational marijuana?” Toth said, none.

Bozik asked what the radius is for notification for a special use. Toth said 250 feet from the property line. Bozik asked if it would be possible to expand that to 500 or 750 feet for notification. Toth said he was not sure it could be done or would require a separate text amendment. Toth added that it might be a legal question to be able to put that in as a use standard.

Bosco mentioned that since January 1st is the opening for recreational sales, the petitioner would still have to come in for a special use for even their existing location since the chances of them building at a new location by that time is not likely. They plan on opening at the current location and consider moving to another location at a later date.

Commissioner Anderson asked if the 11 findings of fact for a special use is codified. Bosco said yes.

Bosco said that this would go to the Committee of the Whole meeting on October 7th. The Village Board would also look at the suggestions of immortalizing the 1,500 foot rule.

Toth said he will be asking the Village Attorney if there is the ability to get a variance from the buffer requirement.

Duncan noted that she was curious as to what the available locations would look like on the map if there was a 500 foot buffer.

Chairman Brackett asked who could vote to approve if there was no buffer in place. Rivecco – no, Tuohy – no, Anderson – yes, Lenkart – yes, Duncan – no, Holbrook – no, Bozik – yes, Botkin – yes. (No – 4, Yes – 4).

Chairman Brackett asked who could vote to approve if there was a buffer of 500 feet for schools and parks. Rivecco – yes, Tuohy - no, Anderson - no, Lenkart - no, Duncan - yes, Holbrook - yes, Bozik - no, Botkin – no. (No – 5, Yes – 3).

Bozik suggested a 1,000 foot buffer around Goodwin Elementary, Schneider Elementary, Fearn Elementary and Jewel Middle School in North Aurora and drop the buffer on all other areas. Rivecco – yes, Tuohy – yes, Lenkart – no, Duncan – yes, Holbrook – yes, Bozik – yes, Anderson – no, Botkin – no. (No – 3, Yes – 5).

Bosco said that after discussing the issue with the Village Attorney regarding memorializing the 1,500 foot buffer, it can be voted on since the Plan Commission is discussing the topic of marijuana. It can also just be recommend to the Village Board. Bosco said that Attorney Drendel suggested adding it separately in the staff report.

Amendment #7 as proposed. A motion was made by Commissioner Rivecco and seconded by Commissioner Tuohy to memorialize the 1,500-foot buffer between recreational cannabis dispensaries. Rivecco – yes, Tuohy – yes, Anderson – yes, Lenkart – yes, Duncan – yes, Holbrook – yes, Bozik – yes, Botkin – yes. Motion approved (8-0).

In reference to Amendment Item #5 of the petition, Chairman Brackett asked for a vote on having a 500 foot buffer in place and a 1,000 foot buffer for the four schools in North Aurora: Goodwin Elementary, Schneider Elementary, Fearn Elementary and Jewel Middle School. Rivecco – yes, Tuohy – yes, Anderson – no, Lenkart – no, Duncan – yes, Holbrook – yes, Bozik – yes, Botkin – no. (Yes – 5, No – 3).

The motion to be put forth before the Village Board:

Amendment #5 as proposed. A motion made by Commissioner Bozik and seconded by Commissioner Holbrook to recommend a 1,000 foot buffer around the four schools: Goodwin, Schneider, Fearn and Jewel in the Village of North Aurora, as the only buffer, and a special use for everything else. Roll Call Vote: Botkin – no, Bozik – yes, Holbrook – yes, Duncan – yes, Lenkart – no, Anderson – no, Tuohy – yes, Rivecco – yes. Motion approved (5-3).

ADJOURNMENT
Motion to adjourn made by Commissioner Duncan and seconded by Commissioner Botkin. All in favor. Motion approved.

Respectfully Submitted,

Lori J. Murray
Village Clerk


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