Now that the state of Illinois has chosen companies to operate the state’s new medical marijuana dispensaries, the village of Brookfield is getting down to the task of amending its zoning code to allow such businesses.
And while it’s doubtful that the village will soon, if ever, become home to a medical marijuana facility, Brookfield is required by law to accommodate the use somewhere in the village.
In April, the matter will be taken up by the Brookfield Planning and Zoning Commission, which will recommend an amendment to the village’s zoning map, allowing for medical marijuana dispensaries within Brookfield. Any recommendation subsequently would need to be approved by the Brookfield Village Board.
While the state also approved cultivation centers for medical marijuana, restrictions on where those kinds of facilities can be located means that Brookfield will never be able to house such a business.
However, there are several areas of the village where medical marijuana dispensaries might be accommodated, and the village needs to determine where the best place for them might be.
Village staff on March 9 explained their preliminary findings that 47th Street between Custer and Raymond avenues, which is Brookfield’s small light-industrial corridor, is the place where any dispensaries should be located. The area also extends north on Plainfield Road to Sahler Avenue.
That zoning overlay district also corresponds with the area where Brookfield allows other adult uses, such as sexually oriented businesses. The village board amended its zoning map to allow adult-use businesses in 2010 in response to an inquiry from a business that wanted to open what it called a “modeling studio.”
The business eventually opened on 47th Street and operated for a short time and had a rather tumultuous relationship with the village, which unsuccessfully attempted to shut it down after several complaints about it to police. Eventually, the business moved away.
Officials were careful not to equate the medical marijuana facilities with adult-use businesses, said Village Manager Keith Sbiral. Rather, he said, because the state has seen fit to impose restrictions on where such dispensaries can be located — they can’t be located within 1,000 feet of a school or daycare center and can only be open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. — it made sense to align them with other highly restricted uses, such as adult-use businesses.
“All we’re saying is the locational requirements are similar to sexually oriented businesses,” said Village Attorney Richard Ramello. “Many communities have zoned these into industrial areas.”
In 2014, the state launched a pilot program that allowed 60 dispensaries throughout the state, one each in a specific zone. Because Brookfield is divided up between three different townships, it was possible that Brookfield could have attracted three medical marijuana dispensaries.
But last May, when a company approached the village to inquire where such a facility might be allowed, Brookfield’s village board responded by imposing a six-month moratorium on processing applications for medical marijuana dispensaries. That moratorium expired at the end of 2014.
The moratorium was a stop-gap measure to give time for village officials to examine how the village might fit the new use into its zoning map.
Since that time, the state has handed out licenses for the first 60 dispensaries; none of them will be located in Brookfield.
“This prevents any medical cannabis facility from opening in Brookfield until the state increases the number of licenses available for our zone,” said Heather Milway, Brookfield’s village planner.