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In the zone for medical marijuana

City of Princeton amends zoning code

Published: Wednesday, Aug. 6, 2014 1:38 p.m. CST • Updated: Wednesday, Aug. 6, 2014 1:40 p.m. CST

PRINCETON — The Princeton City Council has amended the city’s zoning code to make sure it’s ready for a possible medical marijuana facility to be built in the city’s logistics center.

At Monday’s meeting, the council voted 3 to 2 to suspend the first reading of a text amendment recommendation from the Princeton Plan Commission, which would add language to the zoning code allowing for indoor commercial horticulture businesses which grow plants indoors “for use by people or animals for food, medicinal purposes or aesthetic gratification.”

The text amendment includes, but is not limited to, cultivation centers, as defined by the Illinois Department of Agriculture. As stated on the Department of Agriculture website, cultivation centers are medical marijuana facilities.

In July, the city council voted 4 to 1 to endorse using a site in the Princeton Logistic Center, or commercial park, as the location for a future medical marijuana cultivation center, if Princeton would get chosen by the state as a site. Voting against the July motion was Commissioner Bob Warren.

In discussing the proposed suspension of the first reading of the text amendment at Monday’s meeting, Commissioner Joel Quiram said the city has an ordinance requiring two readings of proposed ordinances. The two-readings ordinance is there for a reason, to give people the opportunity to speak up once they hear about the first reading and then come to the next council meeting and voice their opinion. In reading the proposed text amendment, he did not see the urgency or necessity of suspending the first reading, Quiram said.

City Manager Jeff Clawson said the primary reason for the request to suspend the first reading was for a timely application to the Illinois Department of Agriculture and to have the language in the city code which would match the appropriate zoning classification.

Quiram said he was not opposed to the medical marijuana facility, but he would vote against the suspension of the first reading as well as the text amendment ordinance because the ordinance was not going forward to a second reading.

After further discussion, Quiram and Commissioner Ray Mabry voted against suspending the first reading of the text amendment, as well as the subsequent vote on the text amendment itself. Voting in favor of the suspension of the first reading and the subsequent approval of the text amendment were Warren, Mayor Keith Cain and Commissioner Ray Swanson.

Following Monday’s meeting, Quiram said there may not be many people out there who are opposed to the medical marijuana facility for Princeton, but they are out there. They have a right, via the city’s ordinance that requires two readings, to voice their opinion if they choose to do so.

In other business at Monday’s meeting, Clawson presented the council with a proposal for new signage at the city’s recycling center. The exterior sign will be large, 4-feet-by-8-feet, and will list the rules for using the center, as well as the consequences for violations. Inside the building, the city will put up posters and explanations of the various recyclable materials in an effort to do a better job of educating the public. The city will also work on scheduling staff at the center, he said.

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