Zen Leaf’s plans to relocate marijuana dispensary move forward

St. Charles plan commissioners recommend approval of plans

Zen Leaf on Tuesday moved another step forward in its plan to move its medical and recreational marijuana dispensary at 3714 Illinois Ave. to the former Jared Jewelry store in the Main Street Commons shopping center in St. Charles.

St. Charles plan commissioners on Tuesday unanimously recommended approval of a special use application for the proposed dispensary. Healthway Services of West Illinois, LLC. – which operates Zen Leaf – has applied to move the dispensary to the vacant building at 3691 E. Main St.

The plan is contingent on Healthway receiving a license from the state for the proposed location. Aldermen on the City Council’s Planning and Development Committee will now review the proposal.

At 6,153 square feet, the former Jared Jewelry store is bigger than Zen Leaf’s current facility, which is 3,768 square feet. The new location also will provide more parking than its current location.

“The proposed building is providing nearly 40 percent greater floor area from the existing space, which will allow us to accommodate more customers comfortably, allow for greater social distancing as well as enhanced security,” Adam Rak, an urban planner at St. Charles-based WBK Engineering, told plan commissioners.

On-site consumption will be prohibited at Zen Leaf’s new location as it is at its current location, he said. Silver Star Protection Group provides security at Zen Leaf.

The proposed hours of operation will be 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sundays, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays and 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. James Leventis of Zen Leaf said the new location will increase sales “which in turn is going to hopefully provide a boost to the bottom line for the town in terms of tax revenue.”

“We’re definitely hoping by moving to a more appropriate retail location that increased foot traffic will certainly help enhance the surrounding businesses and the community at large,” he said.

Zen Leaf currently is located in an industrial building near the shopping center. Last year, Zen Leaf began selling recreational marijuana at its dispensary at 3714 Illinois Ave. after St. Charles aldermen gave them the green light to do so. Zen Leaf had previously been only a medical marijuana dispensary.

Aldermen voted 6-4 to add recreational marijuana dispensaries as a special use in the M-2 limited manufacturing district. They also voted 6-4 to give Healthway Services special use approval to operate a recreational marijuana dispensary at its current location.

Voting “no” in both cases were First Ward Alderman Ronald Silkaitis, Second Ward Alderman Arthur Lemke, Second Ward Alderman Rita Anne Payleitner and 5th Ward Alderman Maureen Lewis. Aldermen approved Zen Leaf’s plans with several conditions, including that it install additional security cameras, update its parking lot lighting and install additional signs stating that onsite consumption is prohibited.

Recreational marijuana use and possession became legal in Illinois last year.

Eric Schelkopf

Eric Schelkopf covers St. Charles and writes entertainment stories for the Kane County Chronicle.