Third cannabis dispensary clears zoning commission, could open in July

Jan. 7—DANVILLE — The Danville Area Planning and Zoning Commission Thursday night recommended approving a special-use permit for a third cannabis dispensary in the Lynch Road area.

The Danville City Council will act on the permit on Jan. 17.

The vote was after the zoning commission also recommended amending the zoning ordinance to allow one or more cannabis dispensaries that are authorized or licensed pursuant to the Social Equity and/or Social Equity Justice Lottery to locate within 1,500 feet of each other and/or within 1,500 feet of an Early Approval Adult Use cannabis dispensary. Current ordinance only allows one, and the city already has approved another across the road from Sunnyside.

Parkway Dispensary LLC of Brookfield, Ill., with the 1937 Group as owner, is requesting the special-use permit to operate a medicinal/adult-use cannabis dispensary north of the Sunnyside Dispensary. There would be a parcel of land between the two dispensaries.

Finalization of extending the access road that now dead ends behind Sunnyside is still to come. The city's current standpoint, with terms still to be discussed, is the developer or landowners are to fund the roadway extension. The city has previously denied another access directly on Lynch Road.

The almost 5,500 square foot dispensary would include future expansion space for about 10,000 total square feet.

Ambrose Jackson, The 1937 Group chairman and CEO, said this would be the company's first cannabis dispensary.

It will be designed to speak to the customer experience, with an education component in the form of a coffee bar area where customers can talk to a barista to learn about cannabis flower, concentrates, infused and other product options.

Jackson said, with city approval, they'd like to open by the end of July. The construction process could start in February or March, with about eight weeks needed to finalize development plans. Permits are then needed, and it could take about four months for construction.

"We will make it look very aesthetically pleasing," he said of the building's exterior.

Danville Community Development Administrator Logan Cronk said the city is excited to see new construction in this corridor.

"Thank you for considering our community," he told the Parkway representatives.

Ambrose; Sonia Antolec, general counsel, and Jim Riley, vice president of facilities, talked to the zoning commission about the business stemming from health and wellness.

The dispensary will be hiring about 30-40 people with wages starting at $17-20 for hourly employees and reaching up to about $80,000 for a full-time manager position.

They said there's high security with the dispensary, and their focus is on designing the facility to create a more engaging, consumer sensory environment. A customer won't feel pressured to get in and out quickly.

There are 10 owners with the company, they explained, with veteran and minority ownership.

"We don't just want to be a business in Danville. We want to be a part of Danville," Antolec said.

They said they found a good location here for the dispensary.

Jackson said they could have a larger footprint in Illinois in working with other license winners and could see developing three to four dispensaries total.

They explained the Parkway name refers to a street in a thriving and bustling area in Chicago that had the name and then was renamed Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive.

Jackson also said about having more than one cannabis dispensary near another, a lack of competition means less need for diversity in products and prices are higher.