ELGIN — Salveo Heath and Wellness doesn’t plan on flashy signs or depictions of marijuana leaves outside a proposed medical marijuana dispensary here.“We are going to operate and build to be discreet and professional,” said Alex Thiersch, chief executive officer of Salveo Heath.His company appeared before the Elgin planning and zoning committee, seeking its approval of a special use permit for the dispensary. The Elgin City Council approved the rules and guidelines to allow for a marijuana dispensary in February, following the state law which was approved last year, effective Jan. 1.The planning and zoning commission ultimately gave its nod of approval for the special use permit on a 6-1 vote Monday night. Commissioner Corey Dixon was the lone dissenter.Some businesses surrounding the proposed location at 1330 Crispin Drive — in a mostly-industrial area — said that while they were not against medical marijuana, they were concerned about additional traffic and potential crime surrounding the business.When Illinois approved medical marijuana, it learned its lessons from other states that had already approved that use for the plant. The end results is a medical marijuana law that has some of the most restrictive regulations in the country, Thiersch said.Only 41 conditions are approved for its use, and the prescribing doctor must have an established relationship with the patient. Then, the state Board of Health must also approve the application for a medical marijuana card, Thiersch said.They expect no more than 100 customers at its peak, he added.Salveo Health has also approached two other cities — Quincy and Rockford — about placing dispensaries in those towns, Thiersch said. Neither of those towns had an ordinance in place when they approached the community — they are being written now, he added.Neither have medical marijuana dispensaries increased crime in the neighborhoods they are located, Thiersch said.His research and various studies indicate crime has dropped in communities with the dispensaries, Thiersch said.The proposed Elgin location would have 24-hour video surveillance from 21 cameras and three motion detectors, including those outside the building. Including armed security guards, there would be at minimum six employees inside the building at any one time, Thiersch said. The video would be streamed to the Illinois State Police and could also be streamed to the Elgin Police Department as well, he said.Still, neighboring business representatives said, they are unsure if those safeguards are enough to prevent problems, or what the additional traffic could mean in the industrial park. The businesses did not address whether or not the extension of Bowes Road, which Crispin connects to, would also increase area traffic. That project is expected to begin in South Elgin later this year and connect Route 31 to McLean Boulevard. An adjacent industrial park in South Elgin would also have access to Bowes following the construction.None of the existing adjacent uses are medical or retail, said Teresa Morehead, of Harting Inc. of North America, one of the building owners in the Fox Bluff Center. “They make something or provide a service,” she said.Their attorney, Linda Muscarello, complained that the hearing notice only arrived on July 18.Kane County is allowed, by state regulations, to have two medical marijuana dispensaries. As one of the largest economic centers in the county, it makes sense to locate one of those here, Thiersch added.Some adjacent building owners may not like the conditional use, but it is a use for the area approved by city council, said Commissioner Anthony Pedote.“It is what we decided as a commission and what the city council approved,” he said. Absent hard proof of potential traffic or crime problems “it is hard to vote against a lawful business that the city council said could be here.”The conditional use permit will now go to the city council for final approval. If given city approval, the dispensary would not likely be ready to operate until late next spring, Thiersch said.[embedded content]
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