Altamont officials are discussing whether to allow the sale of recreational marijuana within the city.
During a meeting this week, Commissioner Todd Slingerland presented guidelines established by the Illinois Municipal League to get the discussion started, using Altamont’s alcohol ordinance as an additional reference. He pointed out that places that sell liquor must be a certain distance from schools and churches.
“I wanted to add parks,” he said.
Slingerland asked Zoning Administrator Gary White to create several maps based on data from Altamont’s alcohol ordinance and possible additional guidelines to consider when establishing distance guidelines for recreational cannabis sales.
One map showed the available areas where a store could be located, figuring in their distance from schools, churches and parks.
Another map added in a 1,500 foot barrier from residential areas, schools, private schools, licensed daycare facilities, nurseries and pre-schools, and 100 foot barriers from churches and parks.
“If you throw them all together, within the city limits, I don’t see a single spot available for a recreational use marijuana selling facility,” Slingerland said.
“Are you proposing we don’t have an area in town that’s suitable?” Commissioner Tayler Polk asked Slingerland.
“I don’t think it’s right to set up a pot shop next door to the parks,” Slingerland said. “We need to stay away from parks, we need to say away from churches and we need to stay away from schools.”
Altamont City Clerk and Treasurer Sarah Stephen said the measurements are determined from the front door of the school or church.
“Me, personally, I don’t think there needs to be recreational marijuana sold in Altamont,” Slingerland said. “Would it be beneficial for the city if we allowed it? As of right now, we would get 3 percent of sales back from the state.”
“Yes, it would bring some income to the City of Altamont,” Slingerland said.
“What are our guidelines going to be?” Commissioner Michael Walker asked. “That’s the deep discussion right now.”
“I think we want to be careful at what we do,” Polk said. “I would like to welcome business, rather than push them away.”
Steven said just one company, from California, has asked questions about guidlines for sales in Altamont. She also noted that the application fee might affect the number of inquiries.
“And it’s non-refundable,” Stephen said.
Dan Milleville, who presided as mayor in the absence of presided as mayor in the absence of Jason Rippetoe, said that a continued discussion about the sales of adult use of cannabis was a very important and needs to continue in future meetings.
He also noted that the adult use cannabis sales might bring spin off businesses. Milleville said as many as seven businesses could spin-off from a adult use cannabis storefront and council members need to take that into consideration.
“Just a question. Are you or are you not if favor of this?” Stephen said. “If you’re not wanting it at all, then we don’t have to do anything.”
The council plans to discuss adult use cannabis sales at its next meeting. If guidelines are established, the council will send recommendations to the Zoning Board.
In other city council action:
• Approved an Enterprise Zone within the City of Altamont and Village of Beecher City, IL (Correction to set commercial property tax abatement period and set minimum project cost for residential and commercial projects.)
• Approved the amendment of the fiscal year end 2020 appropriation to be $7,002,446. The adjustment is $20,815.00 higher than the original appropriation.
• Approved the FYE 2020 tax levy at 4.73 percent higher than last years 4.65 percent.