Park Ridge’s plans to limit sales for recreational cannabis to two locations seemed to be on track to be already resolved this year. It isn’t going as smoothly as might have been predicted.
The first site approved Feb. 4 was for the World of Weed at 1036 Higgins Rd., two doors west of Mariano’s at Higgins and Cumberland. It is back on the drawing board for a different provider with some of the same players and site but with different plans.
With last minute posting of the agendas for Planning & Zoning agenda June 26 and the City Council Aug. 1 meetings, there was very little public notice that a new project is being fast-tracked for the location.
This site, the applicants say, is valuable for its access to the Marriott O’Hare, additional Rosemont hotels, Rivers Casino in Des Plaines, the tollways and the Kennedy Expressway. They are looking for extended evening hours to service some of those potential customers.
One of the current representatives began lobbying in Park Ridge for the previous applicant. He said World of Weed, the first company, had decided to go elsewhere, but there are plans for his new client, Nirvana Management Corporation to occupy the space, and a holding company, 1036 Higgins Street Holdings LLC, to purchase the property. Both are based in Schaumburg.
The site is currently occupied by three adjacent office spaces running north along the west side of a deep lot with parking on the east side. The plan this time would retain a chiropractor’s medical office at the northwest corner, while combining the front two buildings into the cannabis dealership, with staff areas and a product vault off limits to customers. Public spaces will be limited to one end of the building, and security staff will escort individuals.
The second site proposed this year was 10 Higgins at Canfield, which would rebuild the former Veterans of Foreign Wars headquarters for a distribution center to be operated as Bridge Collective. It inched through Planning and Zoning, two City Council meetings and lost the bid. Bridge Collective appealed the decision back to Planning and Zoning, which forwarded it back to City Council, which added some conditions and finally approved the project in June.
A key change was, when Bridge Collective went through the appeal process it made promises to certain landscaping, to ingress and egress from the parking lot and building, and to have regular meetings with neighbors in the single family neighborhood and with police. To pass the appeal, several aldermen wrote that list of requirements into the approval ordinance for the 10 Higgins site.
This time, Ald. Rich Biagi (6th) whose ward includes 1036 Higgins, and Ald. Charlie Meladosian (5th) are trying to reduce the number of hours per day that Nirvana can operate, to make both sites match with lesser hours. City Attorney Adam Simon says there are no requirements to have each site match the same hours, although the City Council may eventually change some rules city wide.
There are state requirements and filings needed to get the site approved for operating cannabis sales sites in Illinois. Until a sales location can be qualified for sales, limiting the actual operations may remain a moot point.
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