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home : news : news   May 25, 2016

8/19/2014 5:41:00 AM
'Cannabis cultivation' approved in Oglesby

Tom Collins
NewsTribune Senior Reporter

"Cannabis cultivation” is now a recognized business in Oglesby. Now, city officials will decide whether Green Thumb Industries LLC will be Oglesby’s designated grower.

Monday, the city council vote 4-0 (commissioner Dennis Yborra was absent) to approve a text amendment to the city’s zoning ordinance. As amended, the E-light industrial and F-heavy industrial classes now recognize cannabis cultivation as an accepted industry, with a special use.

The vote followed a Monday hearing by the Zoning Board of Appeals, which unanimously recommended the change and ran into no opposition from the assembly.

Tonight comes what may be the final opportunity for Oglesby residents to speak for or against growing medical cannabis. The Oglesby Plan Commission convenes at 6:30 p.m. to decide whether to issue the city’s first cannabis special use permit to GTI.

None of this to say GTI will be allowed to grow a single bud. The firm has applied to be the one designated licensee in North Central Illinois and the decision rests squarely with the Illinois Department of Agriculture. The city has virtually no input, save for squaring the books to accommodate a prospective industry.

GTI’s Matt Estep was present for Monday’s formal vote but deferred comment to Tuesday, when he and other GTI representatives would be on hand for a detailed presentation.

To date, there has been little comment from the public or from the council, which would like the promised 100 jobs and has adopted a view of: If it’s going to be legal, then why not us?

“It’s going to come, so you might as well get on board,” commissioner Paul Danekas reasoned. He added later, “It’s going to happen; it’s not like you’re going to stop it.”

Separately, the council received bids on its forthcoming motor fuel tax program and learned two of the bids came in below the engineer’s estimate.

The apparent low bidder is Len Trovero Construction, whose bid of $126,793.75 came in more than $12,000 below the nearly $140,000 estimate.

In other matters, the council:

- Approved an ordinance granting a highway authority agreement between the city and Etna Oil Co., owners of the Shell station at 105 N. Lewis Ave. If approved, the city would help Etna meet an environmental requirement by prohibiting the digging of wells at the site.

- Accepted the resignation of Rich Vollmer from the Oglesby Ambulance Board

- Granted a tag day request to the IVCC Tennis Team for Saturday, Aug. 30

- Approved a request by Oglesby firefighters to use Mallick Road and Mormon Street for a race jointly benefiting their association and Illinois Valley Animal Rescue.

Tom Collins can be reached at (815) 220-6930 or Follow him on Twitter: @NT_Court.

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