PHOTO BY STACIE LEWIS
Chris Stone recently filed a request for a zoning permit to open in an 18,800-square-foot vacant warehouse site on the city’s northeast side at 3451 Lumber Lane.
Cannabis entrepreneur Chris Stone hopes to receive city approval for a proposed craft-grow business in Springfield this fall on behalf of a company called Cyclone Labs.
The Springfield resident recently filed a request for a zoning permit to open in an 18,800-square-foot warehouse site on the city’s northeast side at 3451 Lumber Lane. The plan will be considered at the Springfield Planning and Zoning Commission’s Oct. 19 meeting.
Stone told Illinois Times he was acting as a consultant on behalf of Springfield-based Cyclone Labs when he recently filed a request for a conditional permitted use, or CPU, for the six-acre Lumber Lane site.
The site, which could be the first of its kind in Springfield, contains 16,800 square feet of empty warehouse space and 2,000 square feet of office space. It is in an industrial zone that complies with the city’s setback requirements, Stone said. The site would undergo $4.7 million in renovations and create 20 to 25 permanent full-time jobs, he said.
“It’s going to be economically impactful for the area,” Stone said. “More importantly, though, it’s a business that will hopefully continue to elevate the entrepreneurial nature of current businesses in Springfield as well as attract businesses to Springfield that either are in cannabis or have ancillary benefits to cannabis.”
No craft grows have opened yet in Illinois since the cultivation, sale and use of recreational marijuana became legal in 2020. The state has awarded about 90 craft-grow licenses to investors throughout the state, and those licensees are working to find suitable sites for indoor facilities that can grow cannabis plants in 5,000 square feet of space.
The law allows craft-grow operators to ask the state for permission to eventually expand to 14,000 square feet.
Holders of licenses to open the small-scale, indoor cannabis cultivation centers have complained that Springfield’s setback requirements from schools and residential zoning are so onerous that they eliminate almost all options in the city’s industrial parks where many building sit empty.
Current rules for industrial zones in Springfield require cannabis craft grows to be at least 1,500 feet from residential zones, schools and daycare centers. The setback requirement is at least 2,500 feet for cannabis infusers.
A majority on the City Council turned down a proposed ordinance by Mayor Jim Langfelder and Ward 3 Ald. Roy Williams in August that eventually would have reduced the setbacks for craft grows and infusers in industrial zones to at least 200 feet from residential zoning and 500 feet from schools and daycare centers.
The proposal was supported by several cannabis entrepreneurs, including craft-grow license holder Jeff Fulgenzi, a north-end native, Sherman resident and former Sangamon County Board member.
Langfelder has asked the Springfield-Sangamon County Regional Planning Commission to conduct a study and make recommendations on potential new setbacks in industrial zones. The council is expected to receive those suggestions in the next month or two, the mayor said.
Stone was involved in the startup of the city’s first medical and recreational marijuana dispensary downtown. That site is operated by New York-based Ascend Wellness.
Stone said he purchased the Lumber Lane site this year through his company, EMS Midwest, from owners who previously stored landscaping materials and equipment there. The site, on the east side of Interstate 55 and south of East Sangamon Avenue, is adjacent to R.P. Lumber.
Stone said he doesn’t know of any opposition to the Lumber Lane site, which he would sell to Cyclone Labs if the project moves forward.
The Lumber Lane site could be ready to open in the next seven or eight months, Stone said.
He wouldn’t divulge the names of Cyclone Labs’ owners. But the Illinois Secretary of State website lists six managers for Cyclone Labs LLC: Ben Call, Joe Hubbell, Adam Springer, Darrel Thoma and Courtney Hinman, all of Springfield, and Richard McCormick of Chatham.
The conditional permitted use application, required by city officials even when zoning specifications are met, will be considered Oct. 19 by the Springfield Planning and Zoning Commission. The commission’s nonbinding vote will be considered by the City Council, which has the final say, on Nov. 15.
The zoning commission also will consider a CPU for a Maribis cannabis dispensary at 2452 Denver Drive, also on Springfield’s northeast side, in a building that formerly housed an AT&T cellphone store.
Stone said he has a contract to purchase the site and would rent to Maribis, which would move its current medical and recreational cannabis dispensary operation in Grandview to the new Springfield location in January.
Chicago-based Maribis is interested in moving to the new site, near Interstate 55 and Dirksen Parkway, because of its greater visibility and higher traffic counts, Stone said.
Stone, who owns the Parkway Pointe location where Maribis operates another recreational cannabis facility, said he hopes to file for a CPU soon that would allow his craft-grow company, Inlabs LLC, to open at the same site. The building formerly housed a multi-screen movie theater.
But for that proposal to become reality, the Springfield zoning ordinance would need to be changed regarding craft-grow setback requirements from a specific type of residential zone, he said.
Source by www.illinoistimes.com