There are no cannabis-related businesses in Elgin, but city officials hope to recruit a dispensary to the downtown with a rule change that received unanimous support from the planning and zoning commission this week.
Despite following the state’s lead and legalizing dispensaries and cultivation centers during the past six years, Elgin has not lured any medical or recreational businesses.
There have been “a lot of inquiries,” according to Mark Mylott, the city’s director of community development. But restrictions about how close such a business can be to areas where children might gather has kept the most attractive locations, including the downtown, off-limits, he said. Mylott said a dispensary could be the catalyst the downtown needs.
“These dispensaries are attracting a lot of foot traffic, a lot of interest,” he said. “We realized having a dispensary in downtown Elgin would be a great thing for the city, for the downtown community, for the existing businesses as well as downtown residents.”
City officials want to exclude two “pocket parks” from the 250-foot distance requirement.
One is 1,220-square-foot Advocate Park at the southwest corner of Spring Street and East Chicago Avenue. The other is an unnamed park of 2,765 square feet at 67 South Grove Ave. Both feature benches and landscaping, but they lack playgrounds or other amenities that would draw children.
Mylott told the commission exempting those parks from the distance rules would “open up the core of downtown Elgin to possible dispensaries.”