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Local News

City Council approves marijuana dispensary special-use permits

Rialto Square Theatre funding shortfall also discussed

JOLIET – The City Council voted Monday night to issue special-use permits to separate medical marijuana dispensary businesses targeting use of a site on Airport Road near McDonough Street.

Natural Leaf Shoppe and The MedMen of Illinois are seeking to use separate units of a multi-tenant building in the 300 block of Airport Road.

The 1.8-acre site – zoned as light industrial – is in close proximity to Joliet Area Community Hospice. Natural Leaf Shoppe plans to use about 4,400 square feet of warehouse and office space at 347 Airport Road, while The MedMen of Illinois hopes to use a 3,461 square foot section of the same building, but at 351 Airport Road.

Because state law restricts the number of licensed dispensaries to 60, it’s likely the state won’t approve both companies’ requests to build at the same location, said City Manager Jim Hock. Both sites would be equipped with off-street parking and overhead garage doors for secured interior delivery of products.

In July, the City Council approved one permit for 3C Compassionate Care Center at 1627 Rock Creek Blvd. in the Rock Run Business Park.

Under the city’s zoning restrictions, medical marijuana dispensaries are only allowed in restricted business and general business zoning districts as special uses.

Rialto Theatre

District 2 Councilman Bob O’Dekirk updated council members on a recent decision by the Rialto Square Theatre’s board to take money from the theater’s endowment fund to pull the venue out of a “short-term financial bind.”

Recent shows undersold or underperformed so the board voted last week to pull $200,000 from the endowment fund to pay for artists’ fees and operations, said O’Dekirk, who serves as the board’s City Council liaison.

The board viewed it as a “emergency situation” and a “drastic measure they had to take,” he said.

The money-troubled Rialto receives funding from several sources, including the city, each year. At-large Councilwoman Jan Quillman, who once served as the board’s council liaison, suggested an audit be done to ensure money is being spent properly.

“I’d like to see the financials there because we love the Rialto but ... maybe we need to see what we can do to subsequently help them or see exactly what’s going on, what cutbacks they’ve done, the staff raises, so on and so forth,” Quillman said.

Mayor Tom Giarrante agreed.

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