DIXON – On the first day Illinois residents were allowed to submit applications for a medical marijuana permit, representatives from two companies interested in building a cultivation center in town addressed the City Council.
They were there to encourage the city to sell a lot it owns in the Lee County Industrial Park, and the City Council voted unanimously to authorize the sale of the land.
The council will discuss proposals and could vote on whether to sell the property during its next meeting on Sept. 15.
The city can't sell the property for less than 80 percent of the appraised value, which is $257,000. But with at least a 4-1 vote, the council can sell the property to any company submitting a proposal meeting the threshold – $205,6000 – that it determines to be in the best interest of the city.
It could be to one of the companies that expressed interest in a medical marijuana cultivation center Tuesday, or to a different company for a completely different purpose.
Or the council could vote against selling the property.
Commissioner Dennis Considine said the 8.85-acre piece of land, also known as Lot 5, should be viewed as an asset, and not surplus property the city doesn't need. He said the council should "take a real strong look" at what the property means to the city.
"We don't always have to get rid of our assets just because the first Trojan horse comes by with all these bells and whistles," he said. "And that's where I stand."
The medical marijuana law, which was approved as a pilot program, allows for one cultivation center in each Illinois State Police District.
Matt Estep, one of the founders of Chicago-based Green Thumb Industries LLC, addressed the council Tuesday. He said his company has already reached an agreement with the Lee County Industrial Development Association to purchase Lot 4 in the industrial park, and the expectation was that the city's lot would be included.
He said a single application to the state including both lots would make for a stronger application, because it would allow for a larger facility more likely to meet the demand.
The company is working on other applications for other cultivation centers throughout the state, Estep said, adding that the other locations have more land than 8.85 acres.
Linda Giesen, an attorney for the Glenview-based IPP LLC, also addressed the council and urged them to sell the property.
She said the company is prepared to build a building on the lot, even if it isn't given the permit for the cultivation center.
In other action
The council approved making repairs to the Dixon Public Library with $1.2 million from the funds the city received from the settlement with its former auditors and bank and the sale of former Comptroller Rita Crundwell's property.
The library approached the city about the help in July, and the original proposal was to obtain the money through a loan. It was later determined that it would be easier to use settlement money.
Commissioner David Blackburn abstained from voting, because his daughter works for the library. The other council member supported the use, and it was approved 4-0.
The Dixon City Council next meets at 5:30 p.m. Sept. 15, at City Hall, 121 W. Second St., on the second floor in the Council Chambers.
Go to www.DiscoverDixon.org or call City Hall at 815-288-1485 for an agenda or more information.