Zen Leaf operators have no doubt their medical marijuana dispensary in St. Charles can withstand the demands of the recreational cannabis industry.
But city aldermen on Monday said they aren’t sure the shop at 3714 Illinois Ave. can accommodate the additional parking needs, increased traffic and large crowds they’ve witnessed at other suburban dispensaries since a state law legalizing adult-use pot took effect Jan. 1.
For nearly two months, Zen Leaf has been petitioning the city to permit recreational sales in a limited manufacturing district — a necessary step ahead of its request to allow the special use at its unit within the St. Charles Commons complex.
How such operations would affect neighboring businesses, including a dance studio, has been among the key concerns during meetings on the topic, including three public hearings late last year. The advisory plan commission ultimately voted 5-4 to recommend approval of Zen Leaf’s proposals.
On Monday, the council’s planning and zoning committee postponed a vote on the issue until next month, when aldermen expect to resume their discussion.
Recreational cannabis dispensing currently is permitted in the community business and regional business districts, per a set of special-use regulations approved by the city council in October. The provisions allow no more than two shops in town, one of which must be linked to a medical marijuana dispensary that has a year of experience in St. Charles.
Alderman Todd Bancroft says he backed that initial zoning change