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Rethinking medical marijuana

Spring Valley reconsiders

Published: Wednesday, July 23, 2014 2:42 p.m. CDT • Updated: Wednesday, July 23, 2014 2:47 p.m. CDT

SPRING VALLEY — The Spring Valley City Council has thought twice about the idea of allowing a medical marijuana cultivation site into the city.

At first thought, most aldermen were against the idea.

“Let someone else have it,” Alderman Tom Nesti stated at a previous meeting.

But after hearing from a drug task force officer about Illinois’ strident regulations on the growing facilities, the job opportunities it could bring to the Illinois Valley and the new revenue it would generate for the city, the talk has gotten most aldermen leaning in favor of the topic.

On Monday, the task force officer explained how competitive the market is to be selected as the location for the cultivation site. Only one cultivation center will be allowed in each Illinois State Police (ISP) Districts. Spring Valley is in ISP District 17, which covers Bureau, LaSalle and Putnam counties.

Alderman Jack Narczewski said it seems like the city of Peru has the lead on being selected as the site, but the task force officer couldn’t say for certain if that was true.

“It’s becoming very competitive, and it seems like everyone wants to up the ante a little bit,” the officer said. “Everything is going to fall into the licensing from the state’s side of things, but anything a city does to enhance their application, I think, gets the upper hand.”

To get the ball rolling in Spring Valley, the planning commission, which meets on Aug. 6, will have to make a recommendation for the council on whether or not to amend the land development code to meet the zoning requirements for the cultivation site. Upon the recommendation, the council will vote on an ordinance to amend the city’s zoning. If approved, the city will submit an application to endorse becoming a possible site.

On Tuesday, Marini confirmed most aldermen are now in favor of the cultivation site, but there is still at least one alderman who is against the idea.

Marini is in favor of attracting the facility to Spring Valley.

“It’s going to bring jobs into the area. I think that could only help,” he said. “It’s not as if we say no to this it’s not going to come into a neighboring town. It’s a legal business.”

From the information the council has gathered, Marini said it could bring in paying jobs anywhere from $30,000 to $120,000 a year.

“I would certainly like to have that for our people,” he said. “I think people are looking for jobs, and this would help the economy in our town and be a good thing.”

Council amends

burning ordinance

The council on Monday voted 7-1 to amend the current ordinance on burning waste in the city, with Alderman Mike Herrmann voting against the amendment.

Last month, Narczewski brought up the idea to change the burning day from Sundays to Mondays, because many families sit outside on Sundays and cookout; the smoke from neighboring properties can be a bothersome.

The amendment now allows burning on Monday through Saturday, and only on Sundays between Oct. 1 and May 1 of each year.

Herrmann said he didn’t think the council had come to a consensus at its last committee meeting on the matter and felt the amendment tightens the restrictions.

“It just seems like we’re making a city-wide rule for something that’s more a good neighbor policy,” he said.

Marini disagreed and said the amendment “loosens” the ordinance. The city is only restricting burning on Sundays from May 1 to Oct. 1 and days when there is a high school football game.

Comment on this story at www.bcrnews.com.

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