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ST. CHARLES – The St. Charles City Council on Monday held off on voting on whether Zen Leaf should be able to sell recreational marijuana at its dispensary at 3714 Illinois Ave.
Aldermen unanimously voted to approve Zen Leaf's request for a 90-day extension in light of the current coronavirus outbreak and pending state legislation to amend the law that legalized the sale of recreational marijuana.
The city's code identifies a 90-day time frame for the City Council to take action on a special use application following the receipt of the Plan Commission recommendation. Plan commissioners in December voted 5-4 to recommend to the St. Charles City Council that recreational marijuana dispensaries be added as a special use in the M-2 limited manufacturing district.
They also voted 5-4 to recommend to the City Council that Healthway Services of West Illinois, LLC. – which operates Zen Leaf – be given special use approval to operate a recreational marijuana dispensary at its current location.
The issue is being sent back to the City Council's Planning and Development Committee, where it will be discussed at its May 11 meeting. Last month, the majority of aldermen on the City Council's Planning and Development Committee voted against approval of a special use that would allow Zen Leaf to sell recreational marijuana at its current location.
The majority of aldermen also rejected adding recreational marijuana dispensaries as a special use in the M-2 district. Some aldermen said they were leery of making changes to the city's zoning code in light of a proposed state bill that would allow marijuana dispensaries to relocate from their current location. Zen Leaf is the city's only medical marijuana dispensary and has been in operation since 2015.
"Zen Leaf would like additional time to work with St. Charles’ staff on the application for a general text amendment and on any conditions to the special use permit application, such as the sunset clause, and continue to work with its neighbors to effectuate any other potential conditions recommended by staff on a special use permit," Zen Leaf attorney Tyler Manic said in a letter to St. Charles city attorney Nicholas Peppers.
St. Charles Mayor Ray Rogina thought granting Zen Leaf an extension was the right thing to do. He noted that at the last Planning and Development Committee meeting, "there was a variety of back and forth between the two sides of the issue."