Schaumburg trustees have approved the village's first recreational marijuana dispensary, in a prominent outlot building on the north side of Woodfield Mall's parking lot.
Floramedex LLC, operating under the name Sunnyside, expects to open in the late summer or fall in the easternmost 8,640-square-foot space of Woodfield Gatherings, 1739 E. Golf Road. The 11,606-square-foot building also houses Mod Pizza.
The 5-1 vote approving the proposal followed a debate kicked off by Trustee George Dunham raising concerns about the site's visibility and high traffic.
"Golf Road is a premier corridor for the village of Schaumburg, and while a cannabis dispensary has a right to be somewhere, I don't think it's here," Dunham said. "I don't want someone's first impression of Schaumburg, coming west on Golf Road, to be a pot palace. If my language is a little bit derogatory, I'm sorry, but that's what I think."
Others, while expressing sympathy for Dunham's concerns, disagreed.
"I think this area is actually a prime location for something like this," Trustee Mark Madej said. "Better than having it down on a strip mall somewhere closer to neighborhoods and residents. This is more of a touristy area where we have people come into town, stay at our hotels, go shopping. ... The design of it is pretty upscale and I believe it would be an attraction and not a deterrent."
Trustee Frank Kozak said he's heard nothing negative about dispensaries that have opened elsewhere in the Northwest suburbs or the clientele they've attracted, though he admitted they can generate long lines.
"It's not Woodstock all over again by any means," he said. "I don't think it's going to be detrimental to the town."
Trustee Marge Connelly said has concerns about the amount of parking at this site, but noted the village spent a lot of time last year deciding that retail locations like this were the right spots for dispensaries.
"This is very far from any residential," she said. "And by all depictions of what it's going to look like, a kid's not going to know what that is."
Another proposed dispensary -- Windy City Cannabis -- is expected to seek the village board's approval May 26, along with the rezoning it needs to occupy the former Bar Louie building at the southeast corner of Golf and Meacham roads.
But because the two locations are less than 1,500 feet apart, only one of Sunnyside and Windy City will receive a license to operate, under state law. The first of the two dispensaries ready for business would receive the license.