Zen Leaf medical and recreational marijuana dispensary is requesting a six-month extension on its current location at 3714 Illinois Ave. while it waits for the state to approve its relocation to the former Jared Jewelry store in the Main Street Commons shopping center in St. Charles.
At the St. Charles City Council Planning and Development Committee meeting on Monday, aldermen unanimously recommended approval of the extension. The full City Council will now consider the request.
“Zen Leaf does plan to relocate as soon as they are approved by the state,” city planner Ellen Johnson told aldermen.
Zen Leaf hopes to be in its new location by January. Plan commissioners in September unanimously recommended that the extension be granted.
Zen Leaf is operating at its current location as a special use. The special use expires 18 months from the date of approval, which is Nov. 18, Johnson said. Zen Leaf has requested a six-month extension of the special use to May 18, 2022.
“In July, the state passed legislation allowing early approval adult use dispensing organization license holders, such as Zen Leaf, to relocate,” Johnson said. “The state will begin accepting relocation applications in mid-October.”
At their March 15 meeting, aldermen had unanimously voted to approve a special use application to allow Healthway Services of West Illinois, LLC. – which operates Zen Leaf – to move the dispensary to the vacant building at 3691 E. Main St.
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, previously 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.
Recreational marijuana use and possession became legal in Illinois last year.