Joe Sheehan wants to expand his hemp and honey farm outside of West Chicago to include retail space as well as perhaps a cannabis dispensary. A vote on Sheehan’s request to rezone 5 acres of his family’s 22-acre farm on Roosevelt Road, roughly a mile west of Winfield Road, is anticipated from the DuPage County Board on Tuesday.
The zoning would change from residential to business as a result of his request. Three months after county board members approved zoning code amendments allowing recreational cannabis stores in outlying areas, Sheehan made her request. The West Chicago and Winfield leaders have criticized his proposal.
Due to the opposition from both municipalities, the adoption of the project will now require a supermajority of 14 members of the county board. Sheila Rutledge, a Warrenville Democrat whose county board district includes West Chicago, said, “I’d like to see this proposal move ahead.”
Roosevelt Road does include subdivision entrances, but as highlighted by Rutledge and others, land-facing Roosevelt Road tends to promote commercial development. Rutledge opined, “I think it’s an excellent place to do it. The vision Mr. Sheehan has for the land is fantastic.
Joe Sheehan‘s proposal for rezoning was rejected by the county’s zoning board of appeals. Although two members of the county board’s development committee supported the idea, Sheehan may have a difficult time on Tuesday garnering the required 14 votes.
Sheehan claimed that Kerry Farms, a hemp and bee farm on his family’s property, will naturally benefit from the establishment of the dispensary. The first social justice dispensary in DuPage County, he continued, has been a goal of his collaboration with a dispensary licensee.
Sheehan declined to say who the dispensary license belongs to. Homeowners in the area have expressed opposition to the idea of a dispensary off Roosevelt Road, citing issues with property values, noise, and light pollution, among other things.
Others expressed opposition to a dispensary being built close to their residences and suggested Sheehan look for alternative suitable sites along Roosevelt Road. Sheehan stated that he is not considering on-site use, despite some neighbors’ concerns.
The only issue before the board is whether the requested zoning fits with the land, not whether a dispensary would be a suitable tenant of a commercial development, Rutledge said following the development committee hearing on Tuesday.
That is our only responsibility, she continued. West Chicago officially objected, claiming that a zoning change would contravene a pre-annexation agreement from 2005. Kerry Farms is a portion of more than 38 acres that are still unincorporated but whose owners have promised to annex them into West Chicago once other nearby properties have grown and been included in the city.
The site would continue to be zoned estate residential for homes on bigger lots, as per the pre-annexation agreement. West Chicago’s counsel promised that the city would “take all action to safeguard its rights” in a letter to the county board. However, according to county officials, the pre-annexation agreement does not hinder the county board.
According to Paul Hoss, the county’s planning and zoning director, “it is our position that this is an agreement between two parties, and it has no influence on the county’s ability to vote (the rezoning request) up or down.”