Preserve Residential Integrity: Marijuana businesses should NOT be next to Riverside homes

Preserve Residential Integrity: Marijuana businesses should NOT be next to Riverside homes

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Riverside Neighbors started this petition to Riverside Village Board of Trustees

PETITION

Preserve Residential Integrity: Marijuana Businesses Should NOT Be Next to Riverside Homes

We need to send a clear message to the Riverside village board that, as a community, we DO NOT WANT recreational marijuana to be sold next to residential properties.  The board must act immediately to address our concerns. We also need to make it clear that the village board has a responsibility to listen to its residents and make decisions that are positive for our historic and beautiful Riverside.  

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Background Information

At the September 5, 2019 board meeting, a majority of the Riverside Village Board of Trustees (with trustees Elizabeth Peters and Wendell Jisa dissenting)  voted to allow recreational marijuana to be sold in Riverside without any distance restrictions to residential homes. At the time of the vote, most Riverside residents were not aware that recreational marijuana sales were a possibility.  Further, a majority of the board refused to postpone the vote to allow for public forums, and refused to hold a public referendum where all residents could voice their opinions about recreational marijuana sales in Riverside.

At the board meeting,  approximately 20 residents publicly spoke to OPPOSE allowing recreational marijuana sales in Riverside. One spoke in favor.  Board trustees received numerous letters and calls from residents opposing allowing recreational marijuana sales in Riverside entirely or without adequate public hearing and appropriate buffers from residential areas (or areas used primarily by children, such as libraries, schools, parks or daycares). Two of the seven trustees voted NO to recreational marijuana sales in Riverside - Trustee Wendell Jisa and Trustee Elizabth Peters.  In an attempt to place common sense restrictions on recreational marijuana sales, Trustees Jisa and Peters unsuccessfully introduced multiple amendments to:

  • restrict the allowable distance to residential homes (instead the board approved NO distance restrictions)
  • restrict the allowable distance to schools to 1000 ft (instead the board approved a scant 500ft from a school)
  • restrict the allowable distance to public libraries (instead the board approved NO distance restrictions)

The board rushed this vote to allow recreational marijuana sales with virtually no restrictions or additional safety measures to preserve the integrity of our neighborhoods.  Communities across the country have recognized that marijuana dispensaries should not be located immediately next to residential homes. The Illinois Municipal League, a non-partisan organization that researches and advises on issues affecting Illinois municipalities - drafted a model ordinance recommending  marijuana businesses to locate 250 ft from a pre-existing residential use property. The Board’s vote to allow marijuana businesses immediately adjacent to residential properties is highly aggressive and unjustified. (See also, Statement of Mayor Hubert Hermanek, Riverside Brookfield Landmark, Sept. 25, 2019: Unlike Riverside, North Riverside officials would “zone to keep [cannabis dispensaries] away from residents.”)  The Board should either immediately modify the village ordinance to implement a residential homes buffer requirement or immediately opt-out of allowing marijuana businesses in Riverside until it holds a referendum vote to hear from all of the residents of Riverside on this important issue.   Other cities who have opted out include: Naperville, Wheaton, Downers Grove, Grayslake, Lake Forest, Lake Zurich, Libertyville, Bolingbrook, Mokena, Orland Park, and Plainfield.

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