The first public hearings for a proposal to erect a marijuana processing facility in a small Tazewell County town are set for next week.
The City of Delavan's Board of Zoning Appeals will hold two hearings on the issue at its meeting, scheduled to begin at 5:30 p.m. Monday, June 30. The City Council has also set a public hearing during its regular meeting, which starts at 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday, July 1.
Delavan officials are thinking about letting ICC Holdings build, and operate, an indoor marijuana facility on the eastern edge of town. The proposed facility would bring an estimated $3 million in revenue to the city annually and provide about $1 million for local schools. It would also create 25 jobs, making it one of the largest employers in the city.
Some have voiced concerns that the facility would lead to an increase in drug crime or be seen as a promotion of pot use. Mayor Liz Skinner says the business will grow marijuana strictly for approved medical uses.
"It's not for illegal drug use or recreational drug use, which I would be strongly against," said Skinner.
She says the indoor grow operation would be kept under lock and key 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and monitored by Illinois State Police officials. It would also be inaccessible to anyone who is not involved in the production process, including the city officials that will be asked to approve its construction. Residents will likely not see any changes in their day to day lives, and won't ever see the product that comes out of the facility.
"[Marijuana] is simply going to be processed there. It will not be distributed from Delavan," said Skinner.
The zoning board is being asked next Monday to recommend making the proposed site of the facility (near the intersection of Route 122 and Springfield Road) an I-Industrial property. It will also consider whether to grant a special use permit for the project. The City Council is set to discuss annexing the property on Tuesday.
"I know there will be questions, and we really need to do what we can to educate [the public]," Skinner said.
Skinner says it may be September or October before anything is finalized. She says the city will hold more public hearings between now and then.