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Sugar Grove officials not likely to allow marijuana sales in town

The added funding generated by recreational cannabis sales will likely be dealt a blow as Sugar Grove trustees discussed the idea of allowing recreational cannabis sales in town.

At Tuesday’s meeting of the Sugar Grove Village Board of Trustees, village officials took time to open up discussion on this topic.

The state of Illinois passed legislation in June making recreational cannabis sales legal beginning Jan. 1, 2020. But several trustees expressed opposition to allowing cannabis sales in town. The state is giving municipalities the ability to opt-in or opt-out of allowing recreational cannabis sales.

“I, for one, would not be in it just for tax revenues,” Trustee Rick Montalto said, noting the village had a similar debate over video gaming. “It was a big discussion.”

Steps taken by the village in the past to allow video gaming has generated added revenue over time.

Finance Director Matt Anastasia said the village is accruing almost $50,000 through video gaming.

“The first few years it really was not significant,” Montalto said, referring to video gaming revenue.

Trustee Ryan Walter made mention of what he thinks is a big difference between alcohol and cannabis is how they are used.

“Alcohol can be used without a desire or intention of intoxication or with the intent to become intoxicated over a period time,” he said. “Recreational cannabis is used to become immediately intoxicated to escape reality or for the experience. There is no in between.”

Walter said he feels the negatives outweigh the positive impacts.

“Since I personally value the well-being of people over profits, I believe cannabis sales in the village of Sugar Grove would be detrimental,” he said. “I strongly believe we would be doing a disservice to our families as a whole and most notably our children.”

Village President Sean Michels brought up the idea of creating a referendum question to allow voters to speak on the issue.

If the village board came to a consensus approving recreational cannabis sales, Sugar Grove could implement restrictions in connection to usage, location and performance standards.

Sugar Grove currently does not have a location zoning-wise to allow for the operation of cannabis growers or recreational/medicinal cannabis businesses.

Village staff wanted the board to open up discussion at the meeting to help provide direction.

The board came to consensus to bring back discussion of cannabis sales at its Aug. 20 meeting. At that point, village staff is expected to have provided additional information to the village president and the Board of Trustees.

Bike path discussed

Also at the meeting, officials discussed whether the village should sign a letter of understanding with the Illinois Department of Transportation for future Route 47 widening from Cross Street to Galena Road.

The work will provide two lanes in each direction with a raised median, shoulder or curb and gutter, pedestrian/bicycle accommodations, and intersection and safety improvements as needed. Project estimates amount to $18,800.

In May, the village board approved an agreement with the Illinois Department of Transportation for a shared-used path from Cross Street to Rolling Oaks Road in connection to the Route 47 widening project. Those costs are projected at $25,300 using an 80/20 funding split with the Illinois Department of Transportation. According to village board documents, approval at a later date would’ve brought estimated costs to $100,000 and would be 100 percent the village’s responsibility.

Yorkville and Kane County officials are on board to participate in the construction of the shared-used path.

Participation in bike share system OK’d

The village board authorized a memorandum of understanding between Sugar Grove and the Kane County Department of Transportation to allow participation in a new bike sharing program.

The initiative, once it launches, aims to provide an affordable, healthy, safe, environmentally sustainable and popular addition to the county’s transportation options.

Previous discussion on this topic took place at a public meeting last month.

Board action allows the village to view and provide comments on the request for proposal for a bike sharing company that the Kane County Department of Transportation will be releasing in September.

There are costs associated with the village’s action, but those will be determined in the future, according to village board documents.

TIF talk

Officials reviewed an amendment to the boundaries of industrial tax increment finance (TIF) district No. 2, which is an area where the tax base is frozen and is identified by the village for redevelopment.

Board action, if taken, would make the village’s TIF district No. 2 contiguous to TIF district No. 1.

The proposed boundaries would move south to include village-owned properties on 140 and 160 Municipal Drive, west to include farmland with potential development opportunities south of Route 30, and west of the current farmland north of village hall.

In November 2018, the village board approved the purchase of a lot on Heartland Drive to provide access to the north end of TIF district No. 2, as well as the property adjacent to the TIF district and next to the middle school. About that time, officials agreed to declare its intent to reimburse monies used to limit Harter Road use by future truck traffic to an adjacent property.

Board action would allow the village to make payment in an estimated amount of $139,000 toward an interfund loan using TIF district No. 1 funds instead of general fund or general capital infrastructure fund monies.

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