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Committee of the Whole Minutes

OCTOBER 7, 2019
Mayor Berman called the meeting to order.
In attendance: Mayor Dale Berman, Trustee Mark Gaffino, Trustee Mike Lowery, Trustee Laura Curtis, Trustee Mark Carroll, Trustee Tao Martinez. Not in attendance: Trustee Mark Guethle.
Staff in attendance: Village Administrator Steve Bosco, Finance Director Bill Hannah, Community & Economic Development Director Mike Toth, Police Chief Dave Fisher, Village Attorney Kevin Drendel.
1. Recreational Cannabis Businesses
Community & Economic Development Director Mike Toth addressed the board. In 2014, the North Aurora Village Board approved an ordinance to allow medical marijuana in all non-residential zoning districts as a permitted use and cultivation centers as a special use in I-2 districts. In 2014, there was a buffer that required medical cannabis dispensaries to be 1000 feet from schools, parks and day cares. That requirement has since been removed. Any dispensary that opened after July 1, 2019 was not subject to the 1000-foot buffer.
Toth stated that there will be five public meetings to discuss the topic of recreational sales of cannabis in the village. In August, the Committee of the Whole discussed this and was not in favor of onsite consumption of product. They did want to explore allowing cannabis businesses in the village and directed staff to solicit feedback from the Plan Commission. This happened on September 3rd. There were no comments from the public at that time. The focus was on the following 4 questions: Whether or not to limit the number of dispensaries, what zoning district would be appropriate, whether or not to allow them as a permitted or special use and whether or not to adopt setbacks.
Last week there was a Plan Commission formal public hearing. If the Village Board directs staff, it will move forward with final consideration on October 21st.
The Plan Commission, at their meeting, decided on a 1000-foot buffer on only the four public schools in North Aurora (Goodwin, Fearn, Schneider and Jewel). The Plan Commission also decided to memorialize in the ordinance, the 1500-foot separation buffer from other dispensaries.
There was a positive recommendation from the Plan Commission to allow recreational cannabis dispensaries in all non-residential districts as a special use. The miscellaneous uses, such as craft growers and infusing businesses would be advertised as a special use in the I-2 district.
Trustee Carroll asked why the village would allow dispensaries around parks and churches. Carroll said he wants the least amount of dispensaries in the village and would prefer none.
Bosco noted that the Village Board is allowed to limit the number of dispensaries within the village. Trustee Curtis asked if the board could impose a set number of licenses for dispensaries, such as is done with liquor licenses. Bosco said that it would be a possibility. Curtis said she would like to have fewer rather than more dispensaries but noted that she was not against allowing a legally available product.
Mayor Berman said that what he has heard most from people is that they are against recreational use of marijuana. That is not the village’s argument, however. It is a law that recreational cannabis will be legal and the village wants to control it in the best possible way. Mayor Berman said that the Plan Commission did a good job and spent a lot of time in discussions at both of their meetings.
Trustees Curtis and Gaffino said they were in favor of less dispensaries and a 1000-foot buffer and having a specific number of licenses available. The board was in favor of having a 1000-foot buffer around schools and churches.
Trustee Carroll said he was not in favor of the sale of recreational cannabis within the village and the crime that it will bring to the area. Carroll added his concern that there is currently no measurement of marijuana impairment. Carroll said he would rather have a recreational cannabis business open in another community instead of North Aurora. Carroll said that the private citizens are not in favor of this. Mayor Berman said that the board has not seen this concern in the open meetings which have been advertised. There have been only 3 people who have attended the open meetings. Mayor Berman said that whether someone buys marijuana in Batavia or Aurora, they will still be using in North Aurora. If it is being sold and used in North Aurora, the village should have control where it is being sold and how it is being consumed to the best of our ability.
The majority of the board agreed with the plan commission’s findings and also decided to keep the 1000-foot buffer. Atty. Drendel said that when creating the zoning, will have to address the number of facilities. The board was in favor of 1 recreational cannabis dispensary at this time. Trustee Curtis asked if limiting to 1 dispensary would be an anti-trust issue. Atty. Drendel said that anti-trust would be between competitors and the Village is not in the competitive business of selling cannabis. Atty. Drendel said if the village limited to 1 dispensary, and someone pitched another, as with liquor licenses, the village could open it up to another. Carroll asked if we open it to 1, can we ever go backwards. Atty. Drendel said only if the business left. The village could not simply take it away from them. Toth noted if the village were to adopt the limitation of 1 facility in the zoning ordinance, the village could also amend the zoning ordinance to allow for more in the future. Atty. Drendel said that is correct.
Bosco asked the board if the consensus was to allow for one recreational cannabis facility along with the buffer requirements. Answer was yes. Bosco mentioned that he was not sure the village could license these businesses, but the village is limiting it to one and therefore do not need a license. Atty. Drendel said it is not like a liquor license where there is a local license. Bosco said the control would be the code where it states a limit of one.
2. Aurora Boundary Line Agreement Extension
The North Aurora/Aurora boundary line agreement was established in 1999 and set for a 20-year term. The current boundary agreement includes intergovernmental water agreement as well. It borders the Village of North Aurora to the south and eastern limits. The majority of the land is already incorporated into the village or respective city. The western portion of the village is what the village is focusing on in maintaining a boundary line agreement with Aurora. Staff is asking for an extension of the current agreement for one year. There are no changes. The City
of Aurora has expressed interest in the Marmion piece (on the west side of Hart Road). There are issues with storm water that is transpiring from the Marmion property to the residential properties to the west. The Village does not want to hand off a property and ignore an issue and therefore the village is working with the City of Aurora regarding this issue. The Board was in favor of a one year extension of the current agreement.
3. Southwest Fox Valley Cable Consortium Membership
There was discussion at the last meeting regarding doing the recording of the meetings in house.
Three (3) Options:
1. Stay with the FVCC.
2. Village takes over duties: We will provide recording of the meetings and special events as needed.
3. Village takes over duties: We will provide recording of the meetings and special events as needed, and have a PEG channel.
Staff requested direction as to whether the Village would like to continue with the consortium or do the recordings in house. Bosco said that if the village were to stay with the consortium, there would be discussion regarding the proposed fee structure. If the board chooses an in-house option, would issue a 90-day notice and the village would have to continue funding the FVCC’s operations for the rest of their fiscal year. They will have 90-days after the village’s notice to decide if they want to continue. If they decide not to continue, the village is not sure it would get any of the assets that they have that is the village’s proportional share at that time.
Trustee Curtis said this may have been a good idea at its conception but to spend $50,000 a year to participate when technology and trends have changed and everyone is loading to YouTube and watching at their convenience, does not seem to make sense. The board was in favor of going with Option 2 at a cost of between $7,000 – $9,000/year. Mayor Berman was also in favor of Option 2.
Motion to adjourn made by Trustee Lowery and seconded by Trustee Curtis. All in favor. Motion approved.
Respectfully Submitted,
Lori J. Murray
Village Clerk

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